Today is the second day of a fast my wife and I have embarked on for a few days. So , what is a fast, why are we doing it and why write about it in this column? They’re all good questions so I’ll try to answer them.
A fast is when you decide for some reason to refrain from food for a period of time. In fact, most of us decide to fast overnight every day which is why our first meal of the day is called “Break Fast”. McDonald’s is trying to mess us up on that by offering “Breakfast” on their menu all day long. Some people fast for just a meal or two, others for a day and still others for a few days.
The Bible mentions fasting 92 times in both the Old and New Testaments and Jesus Himself both taught and modeled fasting. After being anointed by the Holy Spirit, He was led into the wilderness to fast and pray. (Matthew 4:2).
He also taught us not to brag about it in the public square. So why am I writing this column? What could be more public than this? Certainly not to “Brag”. I am not saying what the purpose of this fast is other than to seek God about some things that are weighing on our hearts at this time. No, the reason I decided to write about fasting this morning is because it is so foreign to our culture. These days our culture tells us we can achieve anything we set our mind to, we deserve better than we have and we are used to instant everything in our internet age. Most of us seniors know better although sometimes we, myself included, don’t always act like it.
So why fast at all? Here’s a website that gives several good reasons (https://www.cru.org/us/en/train-and-grow/spiritual-growth/fasting/prayer-and-fasting) but for me it boils down to:
Trying to be obedient; In Matt 6:16 Jesus says: “Moreover when you fast, ….”
Asking for something I strongly desire. Usually not a material “Thing”!
Trying to discern God’s will in a particular circumstance
But losing weight is definitely NOT the emphasis!
How often is fasting appropriate? I can’t give a blanket answer for that but I can say that the last time I did a significant fast was in 1997. There was a particular issue pressing in on me that was affecting every part of my life and I needed some answers and some help! So I embarked on a fast to determine God’s will and direction. And Bingo, if I can use that term is this context, on day three the light went on and I had my answer and it was verified over the next several days as I consulted with those involved. I will never forget it, and, still today we reap the benefits of the action we took as a result of that fast! I’m certain there were many opportunities before and after that I missed. But those are simply lost opportunities that I’m not going to beat myself up over; nor should you.
Who shouldn’t fast? While I’m not a doctor, everything I read says that anyone who suffers with diabetes might be at risk if they fasted. Anyone would be wise to consult with Their doctor if they’re considering fasting for more than a day.
The holidays are a time for feasting. Ecclesiastes 3 says “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven”. For me, this is a time of fasting.
Thanks for reading All About Seniors…..See you next week!
Bill Milby is a Director of Visiting Angels® of Central Georgia, a non-medical, living assistance service for seniors. If you have questions or comments about this column you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org