Ok, that’s a bit corny, but I couldn’t stop myself.
Our church leaders have called for a week-long fast starting at 6:00 PM on March 1, 2012. I have fasted in the past, usually for a day, consisting of water only, or water and Gatorade. Beth and I have also done the “Daniel fast” for ten days during Lent.
The Daniel fast is based on the book of Daniel in the Bible, in which Daniel and his companions ate only vegetables for a time period. The fast consists of fruits and vegetables only; no meat of any kind, no dairy. No processed anything. No processed flour (white or whole), no baked goods. In my viewpoint, if it tastes good, you can’t have it. No coffee, no tea, no soda pop, no milk, no juice. Just water and veggies. Basically, if it grows in the ground or on a tree it’s fair game. Other than that, forget it.
Ok, I’m not a big veggie fan, I take multi-vitamins so I don’t have to eat veggies. So a ten-day period of time in which that’s all I eat is not exactly something I’m going to jump up and down for. The Daniel fast is basically a vegan diet, only more restrictive. Joy, rapture. How about instead of the fast, I just give myself a papercut and squirt some lemon juice on it? It’d be kind of painful, and over more quickly. No, I guess not.
This year the fast being planned is a bit different. It’s only a week-long, so that’s a bit more palatable (pun intended). However, it’s not precisely like the Daniel fast. Here’s the schedule for this year’s fast: Day one is water only. Day two and three is water and juice only, and the juices are 100% fruit juices only, no preservatives or additives of any kind. Day three through seven are then Daniel fast oriented.
From a physiological perspective, I know that this will be good for me. There are all kinds of physical benefits from a fast such as this. Spiritually, I know this will be good for me as well. Fasting is a spiritual sacrament that is assumed. In other words, the Bible doesn’t say, “If you fast,” but it says “When you fast.” It is assumed that we will fast. Just as it is assumed that we will pray. The fact is, I don’t fast enough. Not that I’m looking for a regular schedule for it…
See, I’m not just fond of food, I love food. I love the taste, the texture, the smell, the appearance, everything. I’m certainly no gourmand. I love all kinds of food, from hot dogs and beans to a nice roast and boiled potatoes to squab and asparagus. If you need to get classified information from me, there’s no need for torture. Just set me down in front of an “everything” pizza and I’ll tell you anything you want to know.
With that as background, I think it is easy to see that I am not looking forward to this fast. I am really, really, not looking forward to it. But. I have committed. And I know God is here. And God uses situations that appear to be unsavory (another food reference, there) in huge ways. As an example, I seem to remember reading something about a missions trip to the Dominican Republic. This is going to be interesting.
(for more information on the Daniel fast, check it out at http://danielfast.wordpress.com/)