I am such a klutz of a Christian that I announced that I was fasting (first mistake) BY COMPLAINING ABOUT HOW HUNGRY I AM (second no-no). This is how much grace I need from God: I can't fast without ruining the whole purpose.
Jesus gave us a guide in Matthew 6:16-18:
“Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you."
So, my "reward" was in the form of concerned co-workers offering up their peanut butter and jelly sammies and whole wheat crackers.
And I felt so lousy that I got my lunch from the break room because, well, I failed.
But let me tell you how God is the God of Second Chances: I left my lunch not in the fridge like normal folks do, but in the freezer. Cucumbers, soup, bell peppers, cherries--these delicious nibbles are made up of an awful lot of water...that freezes hard.
No food for me! Thank You, Jesus, for a second chance!
I am not saying this to boast about fasting, but to let you know that God knows that we are weak. He also wants to support us in seeking Him. And today, I am grateful for the frozen cukes.
My rumbling tummy can remind me to pray:
For the people of Sierra Leone who have a long road of recovery ahead, post-mudslides.
For regions of south Asia suffering from the aftermath of monsoons.
For Hurricane Harvey survivors just a short trip away.
And Irma. I already said that hurricane needs to go. She didn't listen, and instead tore up Barbuda.
I am praying for my neighbors who have made America great, only to be invited out. This is home for them.
God is sovereign. The wind and the waves obey His will. The hearts of world leaders are channels of water in His hands. The widow and orphan and foreigner are the apple of His eye. I am begging Him to be the Master of all and bring His kingdom closer to this injured earth. Today.
And God has reminded me that through honoring people in the margins of the news and in the throes of suffering; in seeing our neighbor and not walking by, we constantly participate in the kind of fast that God wants, and He rewards us with His presence.
“Is this not the fast which I choose, To loosen the bonds of wickedness, To undo the bands of the yoke, And to let the oppressed go free And break every yoke? “Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry And bring the homeless poor into the house; When you see the naked, to cover him; And not to hide yourself from your own flesh? “Then your light will break out like the dawn, And your recovery will speedily spring forth; And your righteousness will go before you; The glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. “Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; You will cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’ If you remove the yoke from your midst, The pointing of the finger and speaking wickedness, And if you give yourself to the hungry And satisfy the desire of the afflicted, Then your light will rise in darkness And your gloom will become like midday. “And the Lord will continually guide you, And satisfy your desire in scorched places, And give strength to your bones; And you will be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail. “Those from among you will rebuild the ancient ruins; You will raise up the age-old foundations; And you will be called the repairer of the breach, The restorer of the streets in which to dwell.