There are two types of people in this world: Those who eat to live, and those who live to eat.
As hard as I try, I am definitely not in the first category. No, I love my food too much. Therefore when God put it on my heart to spend a day fasting and praying for breakthrough in the life of a friend, I wasn’t exactly excited by the idea: “Ask me to do anything, Lord, but not that!”
God did not relent. In fact, He placed it on my heart to not only fast once, but once a week until there was resolution in the situation!
If my resistance for a one-time fast was fierce, it tripled in intensity at this suggestion. “That could take weeks, Lord! And You know I tend to be hypoglycemic, I need to take my medication (which, incidentally, must be taken on a full stomach), pills taken with water always stick in my throat, and I don’t sleep well when I’m hungry!” And my list of excuses went on and on, but I’ll save you the boredom of having to read them. Suffice is to say, I can balk as good as the worst donkey in the world!
God’s response was always the same: “I will provide.”
And so, I organized my first fast. I decided (without consulting Him!) to avoid everything except fruit juice, which I proceeded to drink in abundance. Oh, and I had to have that bite of crackers to take my pills…
It wasn’t easy, but the fruit juice gave my blood sugar enough of a boost to not go hypoglycemic, and the crackers were enough to keep the pills from getting stuck in my throat. And so I proceeded to fast one day a week for the next couple of weeks.
Breakthrough in my friend’s situation was slow, however, and I realized by the end of week four that I was in for the long haul. In fact, I began to wonder if I’d ever be able to eat all 7 days in a week again.
As I was contemplating these thoughts, it occurred to me that I actually wasn’t really doing a full fast at all. I could feel God pushing me to let go of my fruit juice and crackers! Of course, my argument was the same as before, so I won’t write it out again; this time, however, I was listening when God said, “I will provide.”
I decided to take Him at His word, and I did a total fast, with the only thing passing my lips being water and my medication. Imagine my astonishment when those pills did not stick in my throat, when they didn’t upset my stomach and when my blood sugar did not plummet! I even started sleeping well despite being hungry! And I had enough energy for the day. Wow! God meant it when He said “I will provide.”
Oh, and the next day when I wasn’t fasting, I tried to take those pills without food again, and yup, you guessed it…they stuck in my throat!
Fasting for me is an ultimate sacrifice. It may not be so for everyone; however, we all have things that turn out to be “ultimate sacrifices” when God asks them of us. For example, how can I stay up and help that person in need? Everyone knows I have to have my sleep! Or how can I give when I don’t really have enough for myself? Or how can I have the time to take my neighbor grocery shopping? Every moment of my day is jam-packed already!
There are many more potential examples, but the point is, we are all required to sacrifice, and generally, if it’s an easy thing to do, it doesn’t really fit the definition of “sacrifice”! Therefore, although you may not be called by God to fast, you may be called by Him to sacrifice in other ways, ways that for you are more difficult.
Paul gives us some excellent suggestions for what to do when God calls us to sacrifice:
1. Goall in: “Remember this–a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop.” (2 Cor. 9:6 NLT);
2. Give cheerfully: “And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. ‘For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.'” (2 Cor. 9:7 NLT);
3. Expect Him to provide for the lack created by the sacrifice: “And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.” (2 Cor. 9:8 NLT);
4. Expect God to bless your sacrifice: “As the Scriptures say, ‘They share freely and give generously to the poor. Their good deeds will be remembered forever.’ For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you.” (2 Cor. 9:9-10 NLT).
What is God calling you to sacrifice in order to help others? Don’t argue with Him, just trust Him. And that same God who provides for all my needs when I fast will provide for all your needs as well, according to His glorious riches, because God’s glorious riches have been given to US in Christ Jesus!
Isn’t that what Paul is saying in Phil. 4:19? “And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.” (NLT)
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, andScriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, withAnswers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.