Are You Thirsty?
21 Days of Hunger - Day 5
As we enter into our fifth day of fasting and prayer, I would like to focus on one of the more obvious aspects of fasting...hunger and thirst. As a person who truly loves food, I can tell you that hunger is something that I try to avoid...at all costs. Food has always been a high-value asset for me. I have chosen vacation destinations based on food. The depth and value of some of my closest relationships have been based on food. Dare I say, my willingness or ease towards forgiveness...has been encouraged by food (I admit this to my shame). In short, food is important to me, and so, I reemphasize that the state of being hungry and thirsty is something that I try to avoid at all costs.
So...why do I fast?
The greatest purpose of fasting is to increase and intensify your hunger and thirst...not so much for food...but for the Lord. In Psalm 63, David pens a powerful prayer to the Lord, but this prayer is taking place while he is in a deserted wilderness in the geographical region of Judah. This Psalm gives us a glimpse into David’s “wilderness” experience. When we consider the nature of a “wilderness” experience, we can surmise that this may be a period of great loneliness and isolation. It can be a moment where you may not have your typical access to basic resources, such as food and water which can result in experiencing hunger and thirst.
In this wilderness, David knows that if he does not find a source of water, he will not survive. For the sake of his continued existence, he must find a water source. The longer it takes for him to find water, the thirstier he becomes. He begins to search throughout the wilderness, hoping to find something to quench his thirst. Can you imagine the pure joy that David must have felt when he stumbles upon an oasis that provides cool, refreshing water? And perhaps he remembers this experience...and he begins to imagine, “What if I was thirsty for the Lord in the same way that I was thirsty for the water?”
In Psalm 63:1, David writes, “O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water.” Fasting allows us to compare our hunger for God with our hunger for food. It allows us to compare our desire to be accepted by others with our desire to be accepted by God. The type of fast that I committed to doing during our 21 days of hunger is an intermittent fast. What that means is that I am fasting certain meals of the day, so I only get to eat at a certain time of the day. I cannot express how much anticipation I have when I am looking at the clock. When I am seeing the second hand on my watch moving towards that moment when I can finally have something to eat. I am waiting for it. Every second counts...and when that clock strikes that particular hour....BINGO!!! I finally have a meal. My body rejoices!!!
As I begin tearing into my meal, I can hear the Holy Spirit whisper to me: “It would be great to see that anticipation when it comes to My presence. It would be great to see that passion when it comes to My word. It would be great to see that type of hunger and thirst when it comes to My commandments.” And then I remember...“Right, this is why I’m fasting.” Fasting reminds me of how much I need to hunger after God.
How hungry are you for the Lord?