So last month, I posted this.
Let me explain to you what that was about, but in order to do so, I have few back stories.
I’ve shared with a few people about my father and his fasting. In my covenant discipleship group at Wesley, I shared my frustrations with God for calling my father to do a 40 day fast in his 50’s. In his life time, my dad has done 4 40 day fasts. I think he has done about 10 20 day fasts and many 10 and 5 day fasts. He says that if he adds up all the days he has fasted, it’ll be more than 365 days.
He also looked at me and said, one day, you’re going to do this too. I took it as a joke, because there’s no way I can go without food.
Last year around September, I was really blessed by listening to sermons by Adam Hamilton and Francis Chan. I walked away from their sermons saying, wow. And I started praying, begging God for insight and wisdom to become an effective communicator of His gospel. I came upon the passage in Samuel where Samuel anoints David to be the next king of Israel. That passage ended with: “from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came upon David with power (emphasis mine).” I prayed that the Spirit of the Lord would come upon me with power.
During those prayers, (this was around October of ’07) back in my head, I heard myself say, “Go fast.” I entertained that thought and asked for how long, and 20 seemed like a good round number. I stopped praying and laughed and said, I can’t do that. It’s impossible, I’m to skinny. And of course, I’m not my dad.
Well, I heard that call again. And this time, I started getting scared because I begin to think that God was actually serious. So I did what anyone would do (or at least what I think anyone else would do): I bargained with Him. I told him 20 days is too much. It’s crazy. I can’t do it. Instead, I’ll wake up for 20 days and I’ll go to early morning prayer service. I told him, it’s a bigger deal because I like sleep more than food.
But I failed. Out of the 20 days, I think I only went 3 days.
Then out of the blue, my dad calls me up and asks me to call up the church that he usually goes to when he fasts. He said that one of his congregation member is going on a 20 day fast. The whole time, I’m thinking “hmm.. that’s interesting..”
I made the plans for my dad’s church member to go up to the mountain to that church so that he could do his fasting. Around this time, I think I stopped praying because I didn’t want to hear anything from God about this situation. But at the same time, I couldn’t ignore it. The man finished his fasting. And I returned to my prayers, because I needed to pray for our upcoming winter retreat.
And in my prayers, I heard, “he did it. Why can’t you?”
And I said to myself, that guy has enough stored fat to last him for 20 days. I don’t have any. I’ll die. It’s too much. I don’t want to do it.
But I couldn’t ignore it anymore. After the retreat, I looked at the calendar, and I mapped out 20 days. I bargained with God again, and told Him that the senior pastor might not want me to because that will require me to miss 30 days from the office and limit my role in the church for a little bit. And they need me!
Today, I went up to the senior pastor, told him what I was going through, and he gave me his blessings. Of course, we’re not as needed as much as we like to think we are.
Finally, at lunch today, I told my dad what I’ve been dealing with the past months. He just smiled and laughed. He told me that his first long fast was for 20 days.
The last piece of the puzzle is the church that my dad and his member went to for their fasting. I contacted their senior pastor today, and we’ll see what happens.
I’m nervous and I’m scared, but you know what? There’s a peace within my heart after I finally relented.
I share this with you, because I feel like a dope for trying to bargain with God and make deals with him. I learned that when it comes to God, it is always so much easier to say “yes” than to fight. But that three lettered word is really hard to say, especially to God. I’m not sharing this with you to show myself off and to glorify myself and saying, “look what I am doing!!” That’s the last thing I want to do. I just wanted to share with you how we continue to try to fight with God when “yes” is the easiest and best way to go about it.
I know that God would not call me to do this if He wasn’t with me. I know that He’s going to be there each single minute of my 20 days. And maybe the words “my grace is sufficient for you” will have a whole different meaning to me.
But here is my prayer list for those 20 days:
- The wisdom and power of God’s Spirit within me, so that I may be an effective speaker and vessel for His word and for His calling
- My current ministry
- My future and ordination process
- Rahel and myself
So mid February to early March.
The weird thing is (and it’s not really weird) all I can say right now, while typing and reading what I posted, all I can think and say is “God is good.”
Praise God from whom all blessings flow!