Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Fasting with Purpose

The incessant whining just would not stop. It woke me at 5:15 a.m., as my drowsy mind gradually became aware of my surroundings. The sun was not even up yet, and my bright-eyed chocolate-colored dachshund Macie was begging me for her morning meal. Of course, this was precisely why she was going to the vet for testing. She had been waking up early for months, appearing to be starving despite her complete nutrition. I had scheduled her for a test that would measure her blood levels at the vet all day. The worst part was that the test required her to fast. While I sleepily prepared my coffee, she begged and whined for her morning food to no avail. She did not understand why her master, the one she trusted the most, refused to feed her. Even as I talked to her about her dilemma, I knew she was unable to comprehend my words. 

In the Christian life, how many times do we fail to understand what God is doing? We see Him working and possibly hear Him faintly talking to us. But unless we focus on Him, we often miss what He is trying to tell us. Many times, the Lord withholds good things from us, and it feels like a forced fast in our lives. Unfortunately, our first reaction is to worry.

Matthew 6:25 (NIV) reminds us of the words of Jesus:  “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear.  Is not life more important than food and the body more important than clothes?” When we worry, we fail to trust God, our Master, to provide for our needs.

What my dog Macie did not know is that I was subjecting her to the fasting and testing in order to diagnose something going wrong in her body. She had been showing signs and symptoms of a thyroid disease known as Cushings Disease for months. I was pursuing the testing so that, with the help of her veterinarian, I could help her heal. Ultimately, I want her to live a full, happy life for as long as possible. 

God allows trials and valleys in our lives for many reasons. Just like the symptoms in Macie’s body, we have areas in our lives that can make us sick spiritually. We can have “symptoms” of pride, unfaithfulness, a poor attitude, or an unforgiving heart. God may allow a period of difficulty because He loves us enough to help us. His greatest desire is for us to live fully and completely in Him. 

In John 10:10 (NIV), Jesus says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

In Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV), God’s plans for us are clear:  “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”

At the end of a long day at the vet, I waited expectantly for the door to open as the technician brought Macie to me in the waiting room. Even though I was responsible for her exhausting day, she ran to me, her tail wagging, and she jumped into my arms. Her excitement with me that day pales in comparison to the joy we experience at the end of our tough trials. God’s glory is revealed, as we celebrate with Him our journey to the other side. And when He is standing to greet us with open arms, we realize that our Master knew what He was doing all along.

Copyright © 2017 Courtney Johnson. Used with permission.

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