I think I understand why God called Jesus into the desert to fast before sending him into ministry. Fasting from food (well, good foods…saturated foods…) has opened my eyes more not necessarily to this present moment, but to the fruit that will be sown as I step out of this fast. As I have been reading through Hatmaker’s journey, the months following the food fast have been full of a new gentleness and awareness of God’s presence. The first month was a lot of complaining and some lessons. This is hard. This is really hard, especially when I am making funfetti pancakes for breakfast, and crumb cakes, and all kinds of goodness for the kids (Cheat Confession: I have licked my fingers every time I cook for them. Give me a break). But both in Hatmaker and Jesus, there was an emptying of self that resulted in a full ministry. In my moments of desperation, there is a deep hunger for God’s voice, but when Jesus was being tempted in the desert, never once does it say that he heard God’s voice. Instead, he used his own mouth to speak truth over the lies of the enemy. The word was hidden in his heart, and he was prepared to give Satan a run for his money. The fast emptied Jesus of any remnant of his own strength, and filled him instead with “the power of the Spirit” (Luke 4:14). He was ready to do what God called him to do.
And this is what I am looking for. I went into this looking for a spiritual awakening, but the awakening can’t happen without the desert to first empty me of myself. I need the season of hunger pangs and awakening the feeling of loss, to feel alive and empowered in full by the Spirit.
“Abstinence makes way for engagement. A proper abstinence actually breaks hold of improper engagements so that the soul can be properly engaged in and by God.”