get it? quick...fast...sorry couldn't resist.
I saw Scott McKnight's twitter update regarding fasting and found this short post. In it, Scott raises the question of what fasting is and why one does it.
You should follow the link and read the post...go ahead, its short, I'll wait.
See, that was worth it, huh?
This captured my attention because for the first time in my life, I've been experiencing the value of fasting lately. I've fasted before: given stuff up for lent, participated in the 30 Hour Famine and similar awareness events while in college and as a youth minister. However, its always been an oddity with (to be totally honest here) very little value to me in any way I could see beyond the specific awareness for hunger or reminder to pray.
However, when we and the Chappotins entered into a time of discernment recently we decided to include fasting in that process. For some reason, it clicked.
Since then I've engaged in the discipline several times and have continued to encounter a profound richness. I have found that fasting does indeed seem to heighten my awareness of God's presence and is very valuable for any process of discernment. And Scott's post caught my attention by helping me look at the issue from yet another angle.
You see, I've been approaching fasting as the practice of giving something up (food) in order to tune my ears to the voice of God. For me this has primarily been through acknowledging that it is on God that I depend for nourishment, not food; that only God can truly satisfy my cravings.
After reading this post I still find this perspective to be helpful and valid. Yet as I read his words about fasting being a response I realized something which is very true. Fasting isn't merely something I do in order to listen to God: it is my response to the realization that I don't hear very well. I was created to listen to my Creator. My inability to do so should be something that I lament. In that lament, I fast and I cry out to God to speak loud enough for my untrained ears to hear.
And he does.