Remember the 30 Hour Famine? Middle and high schoolers would not only raise money to support families in third world countries, but they would also not eat for 30 hours to have a taste of what it’s like to starve and be deprived. It’s a pretty neat and humbling experience, and I encourage you to try it if you haven’t before. If you were enthusiastic about it like me, you tallied every hour that passed to let your friends know what you were up to. It also gave me a chance to talk about my faith behind it.
But that was 30 hours. Really, the hard part was getting passed the first meal after your last one, cause then your hunger would numb out and carry you for the duration of the fast. What I’m about to tell you, very few people know, and for good reason. When we decided on this, we didn’t want to come off as show boats or like Pharisees. Again, I tell stories like these not to point glory to myself, but rather to help encourage you or to give new perspectives.
Thursday, November 15, 2012
It was a regular evening during Fall Quarter at school. I was diligently doing homework in my office/room like I always was. My room was formatted in such a way that anyone could walk into my room, sit down and face my desk to talk to me. Man-Lauren was no stranger to this, as he would come in to visit or bother me from time to time. When he came in that night, I knew he wasn’t here for fun, for he had a serious demeanor about him.
“Do you want to fast with me?” he asked.
“Hmm.. what did you have in mind?” I countered.
“Food. For like.. 3 or 4 days leading up to Thanksgiving.” he said.
Surprised with the challenge set before me, I knew I couldn’t let him do it alone. 30 hours was already pretty hard; but to do it during school, project meetings and club meetings? We would have to have been insane.. or so dependent on God. After about two minutes of thought, I agreed. We discussed the terms. Nothing but water, which meant not even coffee or tea. Which was hard, considering he loves coffee and I love tea. No one was to know about this as much as possible, for again, it wasn’t meant to be something to bring glory to ourselves. We agreed to text each other whenever we felt hungry, so that we could encourage and pray for each other. After our guidelines were set, we settled on our last meal to be Saturday night, leading up to Thanksgiving and breaking fast would be lunch time on Wednesday (roughly 84-85 hours without food).
You’d be surprised how much time you actually spend cooking, eating and cleaning. I had more time to work on my studies. I even got to sleep early. But really, I had to, since the only fuel I had to sustain me was sleep and Jesus. I’ve never hated water so much in my life. My “meals” were hot cups of water. Smelling food that my roommates cooked or when I was on campus never felt so torturous. Rolling out of bed was never harder. I had the tenacity to bike to campus on that Monday (a big mistake). For the remainder of this fast, I relied on the bus to get me to campus and the elevator to get to class. I had no energy to do stairs. It didn’t help that our fridge was jam packed with food leftover from the Commission Church grand opening. The texts Lauren and I had with each other became like a survival log. I don’t know how it was physically possible, but I still pooped. Was the water I was drinking filled with that much minerals or junk? My stomach shrank so much, I couldn’t even eat that much during Thanksgiving.
Despite it all. I’ve never depended on God so much and my prayer life had never been so strong. It was truly a humbling and eye-opening experience. Again, I tell you this to show you that stuff like this is possible. We cry to God to help us, but we don’t listen because we are so distracted by our technology, our gluttony and the world. We fast for the wrong reasons, hoping that doing this will grant us the object of our desire. After the first day or so, I wasn’t hungry, I just felt weak. I knew that every waking moment of this time, I needed God. I needed him to get me from step to step and class to class. I needed Him for every moment of weakness and for every little thing because without Him, I would have given up so easily.
And maybe that’s the way it should always be, with or without fasting.
“28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” – Matthew 6:28-34