When I fasted on Friday and Saturday, I did it for a lot of reasons. I did it because I enjoy the health benefits of fasting. I did it because I love the way I feel during and after a fast. I did it because I love the increase in mental focus and clarity. I did it as a way to remind myself to bring my needs to God ... to bring my prayer to Him even when it feels selfish to say to him, "God, my family really needs a new car. God, my family needs a job for money. God, my house needs your hand in it."
Wouldn't it be so much better to pray for the starving and the homeless? The needy? The lost? I have always had a hard time praying for myself because it feels ... well ... it feels selfish. "God, I know there are people right now who are so hungry that they are literally dying, but I wish I could go shopping just for the fun of it today, instead of getting milk because we need to. God, I know there are people who walk miles every day to get to work and they have no car ... but my car is broken and ugly and doesn't quite run right, so could I please have a new one? God, I know you just gave Private Ryan a job, and that it will cover our bills ... but could you PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE give him a different one? One that will actually cover the bills and then have some left over for fun?"
Selfish. It just makes me feel selfish. But I don't think He sees it that way. Because He encouraged me.
Private Ryan was discharged last month on the 12th. We spent several weeks with no job, no income, and scared to death of what would happen. How would we pay our bills if we couldn't get jobs? Would we lose our apartment? What then? But God provides. In the last three weeks between the unexpected Army discharge and right now, Private Ryan has gone from having no job, to having three of them. He isn't taking all of them, but will accept the best of the three offers ... but isn't that amazing? God provides so well for His people, and I have seen confirmed over and over again how He answers the cries of His children.
The first fast that I experienced brought me in a lot of ways, closer to myself. I took the time to allow my thoughts to wander inward, took the time to notice the way my body felt. Took the time to hear and process my thoughts, even if they weren't all posted here. But the second fast?
This second fast brought me closer to God. I reminded myself each time I thought of food or hunger, to think of God instead. To focus on Him and how He has blessed me. To focus on Him and how He has provided always for me. To focus on Him and just be thankful for His presence and His hand in my life. And He answered. He showed me once again how mighty He is, how fast He can turn things around, how much bigger He is than any storm I might be caught up in.
After all, how often does a guy get called on a friday and asked to come to an interview on saturday? And how often at a saturday interview does a guy get handed his application and asked if he can come back for a second interview ... on sunday?
And how often does a guy get a final check that is $300 more than expected - which is coincidentally just enough to cover a bill that would otherwise have gone unpaid?
I will fast again soon, and I can't wait to see what God has in store for me then.