Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Press "reset"

Whenever I come to a stalemate with an electronic device, my husband advises me, "Back all the way out, and start again."  Whether faced with a frozen screen or an appliance that is not cooperating like a three year old child, I question the effectiveness of that process.

But it works.

A couple of months ago, an ordinary Monday was a reset to me.  As I rose in the morning, I needed to just to do something different to gain perspective, nothing catastrophic but simply to ease me out of a mindset that was stuck in a continual loop.   What could I do differently?  Back all the way out, and start again.

I felt God's nudge to fast for the day.  I have fasted before -- in seeking God for an answer, direction, solution, or purpose.  Or for His voice in a crazy situation.  Sometimes seeking God for loved ones, hard times, and impossible relationships.

When I started that specific day, I was not planning to fast.  But I did, just wanting to seek His Presence, just to hangout with God,  just because I could. 

Very early in the day, I questioned why anyone labeled this discipline as a "fast," because it is anything but that.  A fast is always slow.  Time does not drag, but it elongates.  I felt the moments come as in slow motion.  I prayed for others as I went about my day, while I worked, having to concentrate as if driving on the highway through a thick rain. I glanced at the clock.  It was only 8.30 in the morning, nothing more.

A little later in the day, I thought about how fasting prepares you for a hard time ahead, because through it, as hard as it is, you learn that you will not die. You will get through this difficulty. And God will change you by it.

I had no particular reason to fast that day.  Or so I thought.

Later on in the afternoon, little did I see it coming.  I ran full speed right into a perfect storm, an old problem.  Boom.  I was like the cartoon character with little stars spinning above my head.  It was like being hit broadside by a car I did not see.  I consciously thought, "Breathe.  Breathe. Breathe," even when there appeared to be no oxygen, and my heart ran out of words.

And then I knew why I had fasted.  It was not "for no good reason." God stood firm around me.  My heart did not explode.  My life was not reduced beyond restoration.

I did not see it coming.  I didn't have to. God knew.  And He knew what I would need, an extravagant package of His strength, already delivered and dissolving into my bloodstream.

I refuse to live as a practicing atheist, as if fasting and praying and trusting God does not matter, as if God does not matter, as if the supernatural does not exist at all.  Because He does.  God is alive and well and working powerfully.

I did not fast for something.  I fasted for everything.  There was an ache buried deep in my heart that while at the end of the day was still there, it shifted just a little bit.  In the momentary crisis, I did not die, I was not buried alive by it, but a strange sense of peace passed over me, not an emotion, but a sense, a Presence.  And with it, a profound urge not to despair, but to pray in that place, to not miss that opportunity to pray, to take a different trail in this, a higher road, not insensitive to what was happening, but deepened by it.  It is not that my wounded feelings could not touch me, but as if I was even more aware of every nerve ending, what steadfast love feels like, what shalom does, a completing of what had begun, a new dimension opening and then another that does not end.  Not an outcome, but excavating a quiet place in my soul.

I did not fast for any reason than to be with Him. And that is exactly what happened, in ways I would never have chosen, in a place I could not have imagined.

At the end of the day, I came home and ate.  Was I starving?  No, not really.

Quite filled, actually.

No comments: