Day 5 of Fast
“‘I (cared for) you in the wilderness, in the land of great drought. When they had pasture, they were filled; they were filled and their heart was exalted; therefore they forgot Me.’” -Hosea 13:6
At times we find ourselves suddenly in the land of great drought. Maybe our only car dies or we are cut from a job we love or a habit we’ve tried to kick for years creeps back and dumps us at rock bottom. Here, where the mountains loom so large in front of us and our bones ache with insufficiency, we turn to God. We start to pray, crawling to our Father in tear-soaked desperation, we stretch out empty, helpless hands. And here he meets us. He holds us there in his arms. He cares for us. And eventually, he brings us up to the top of those mountains. These painful moments, these exposed, abandoned prayers stoke intimacy with God because we come to him in desperation.
But what happens after that?
For many of us, nothing. We return to the routine; to the wake up, get showered, get to work routine. We return to “normal” life. Maybe we remember God’s faithfulness for a little while and obligation or legalism keeps us praying for a couple weeks. But often, something pressing comes up and to deal with it we stop praying. We stay up too late because we have to get this paper done or that project completed and then can’t wake up early enough to spend time with God. We don’t say it and we don’t admit it to ourselves but prayer becomes unimportant to us. This is our heart becoming exalted. We feel that we have enough grace to live on for now. And we start trusting our real god, which is time or money or talent. Pride rises up and eats our memory. On the mountaintop, we often forget that we didn’t climb there ourselves, but were carried.
The truth is we never live past grace. We need grace daily for the mountains and the mundane. The grace God gave me yesterday to apply for this job is not enough for the interview I have today. He promises more grace, but not if I don’t think I need it. (Lamentations 3:23, Matthew 6:11, Matthew 6:34) So today, what is something that you have never asked God for help with? What have you forgotten to rely on him for? We have need and he has grace, but pride is the lie that keeps them separated. (James 4:6)
We are made to live in dependence upon God. Today, narrow your focus to these 24 hours. What’s happening right after you read this? What’s happening in an hour? Two? Tonight? Pray about those things. Don’t ask “what do I need help with?” You need help with all of it.
Now, remember. Remember your own insufficiency back when you last cried out to God. Remember how much you needed him. How desperate you were. Become desperate again and let him fill you with grace.
Fasting is a great catalyst to dependency. It makes the hunger tangible, the need obvious. Fasting is us declaring to our own bodies that we desperately need God. When we have trouble feeling desperate, fasting makes our insufficiency palpable again.
When we come to God with this posture, with dependency on our lips, and helplessness on our hearts, “He will come to us like the rain, like the latter and former rain to the earth.” (Hosea 6:4)
Written by Zach Parsons