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The Fruits of Fasting

I've been part of the 40 day fast and despite days where it's been challenging (seriously, ever seen a British person without tea for a month???!!!) I'm reaching the stage where I'm starting to see the effects of being more deliberate about pressing into God, and really starting to see the fulfillment of God's word that those who sow in tears reap in joy. Well OK, so there were no actual literal tears but no tea and no chocolate for a quick 'pick-me-up' meant it was a close thing sometimes!!! Even without the actual tears the principle remains true. When we invest in something God has directed which may be challenging or even painful, He honours that with results that bring joy – even if it takes a while to see them.

Fasting my usual survival methods means I've had to look to God much more for even the day to day living out of what's a pretty busy schedule. It's caused me to re-tune myself to his voice; going to Him and not the kettle when things are crazy, and listening first to Him in tiny details he was always speaking but that I was ignoring in my independence when it comes to everyday things. Through that I've found myself much more aware of his voice and of him whispering even little things like 'Yes, take time out and meet with that person'. I've obeyed even if it didn't make sense and found constant blessing. Hearing him in more of the little things has ended up with testimonies like being part of someone's salvation last night, being blessed with a testimony of getting some expert advice and $220 worth of sporting goods for $93, amazing life-giving conversations that release healing, hearing God say 'commit to buying that for X' not knowing when I could do it and finding that when I got home after making the commitment the money appeared in my Paypal.

I could give countless other examples. In each one God has also been reminding me of other truths. Like how he likes to bless abundantly and he cares about all the things we care about, big or small. It's actually been a crazy ten days FULL of these kind of 'little' gifts from God that have so many layers and all build up be pretty amazing. All because I was obedient to his call to fast and gave up something that ultimately is so small but that caused me to be more dependent on Him.

This began happening for me as we reached week four of the fast. So can I just encourage you that setting things aside for the sake of pressing in for more of God is ALWAYS worth it. It may not be easy. We may not immediately see the effects, but God is faithful and keeps his promises. What you sow in tears you WILL reap in joy and you'll find yourself, others and circumstances changed by this season. Spiritual disciplines like fasting or Bible study may seem laborious or challenging or even (dare I say it) legalistic, but ultimately we're blessed as they realign us with God and His purposes, and it increases the depth of our relationship with him as we look to him to give us the grace we need to press in. It's SO worth it. HE is worth it.

Jo Dunbar is an intern with the Youth Department at Catch the Fire Toronto and also with the Toronto House of Prayer. She is from the United Kingdom and her eternal love and devotion can be bought with British chocolate and tea.

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