In our exploration of the spiritual practices we should be reminded that our goal is to be in God’s presence, not to improve our standing or convince God of our worth. In the disciplines, we find perspectives from which to view the grace of God.
When it comes to fasting, there may nothing more dreaded by those who believe they are constantly on thin ice before God; those who believe they will disappear into the depths of cold condemnation if they dare presume to be standing comfortably in God’s presence.
There are one thousand reasons each day telling us not to fast. Abstain from food or any good thing? Why on earth would we do that?
If we watch children at play, we remember how difficult it sometimes is to get them to the table for a meal. Their imaginative play, game or movie is more important than food.
If you watch someone whose loved one is suddenly rushed to the hospital and hanging on by a thread; you will someone who is not pre-occupied with eating or even having a drink of water. The appetite is set aside as if it were unimportant.
Maybe in the pictures of child’s play and the sick bed we catch some hints about the true nature of fasting.
The child of God who is deeply fascinated with God can fast for the simple joy of pre-occupation with God. Daily routines and eating our vegetables get in the way of that which matters more to us.
The troubled soul at the hospital bedside ignores an empty stomach with the sense that nothing else is more important than being focused on the crisis.
These are two ways in which you might want to explore fasting. John Piper wisely said, “Christian fasting, at its root, is the hunger of a homesickness for God.”