The season of Lent brings to the forefront the issue of fasting. Those who honor this observation choose to abstain from some form of indulgence. Perhaps chocolate, perhaps TV, perhaps some form of leisure or preferred pasttime...
...And most of us do this with nothing more than a vague idea of why we're doing it...
Is it to procure bonus points in heaven?
Is it merely tradition?
Is it twisting God's arm toward some desired end?
Is it some form of self-flagellation?
Matthew 5:6 comes to mind,
"Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled."
The spirit of this season is to make Space.
At any given moment, we are so stuffed and saturated with food, with drink, our senses soaked with entertainment, and our souls over-stimulated with sundry diversions, that there is barely even a corner left in our lives - or tragically, at times, our churches - for God to fill, to make His presence felt. No room in the Inn, so to speak...
Fasting allows us to feel the hunger of our soul, of our spirit, then to offer that space to God to fill...
Jesus told the woman at the well,
"Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life."*
God isn't some sadist who enjoys watching you suffer; Fasting isn't a punishment, it's a gift. God wants you to hunger and thirst so He has space to fill; He longs to pour Himself into you and me and then to overflow out of our lives into the lives of those around us. We stop short if we remain empty; the point is to be FILLED with the Bread of Life and the Living Water!
The words of Isaiah 55:2 ring out from the Father's heart still...
"Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance."
In your fasting, may you find yourself filled as never before.