Sometimes our need for God is ever before us. We feel unable to take another step or draw another breath unless God somehow supernaturally delivers us. These times of brokenness can be quite profound from a spiritual standpoint, especially when reviewed later.
At other times, we feel strong and capable. We would never deny that we need God, but our need doesn't cross our minds as easily. We know God is there to help us whenever we need him; we just don't need him now!
I find that both of these moments are moments ripe for fasting.1 When I am feeling weak, my fast reminds me that I can rely on God in those times. I do not always, or even often find the answers I seek, but I am reminded that God holds the answers. My call is not to understand God, but to obey him and trust him.
On the other hand, when I am feeling strong, a fast reminds me that my illusion of strength can be taken away from me at any moment. I do not want my first time of feeling my need for God to come some time other than a fast. Now when those dark nights come, I can recall feeling this way before. I can recall doing a hard thing for God and having him assist my obedience.
The spirit translates our groans into words that cannot be uttered. I think of the growling of my stomach being such words. What is my stomach saying? “Feed me!” or maybe “Thanks for the break!” In any event, it is a low growling sound that even I do not completely understand. So it is with my struggles. I often find it is difficult to even put them into words. They feel like groans, like aches. I do not often have sharp cries of intense pain. I tend to have dull aches that do not go away. Thoughts of inadequacy, memories of failures, unanswered “why's?” and “how long's?” As I move away from my rumblings into the strong silent presence of God, I find it easier to change my unspoken words to “
1. In this case, I am primarily speaking about fasting from food, but I freely acknowledge that meaningful modern fasts can consist of days without TV, radio, texting, internet, magazines, etc. In fact, we are probably more challenged by the junk we take into our brains than we are by the junk we take into our stomachs.↩
Stephen [Steve] Kenney, has been a preacher and a lawyer most of his adult life. Before coming to North Central as Senior Minister, Steve served as Assistant County Attorney in Logan County, Kentucky. As Senior Minister, Steve works with the elders and staff to facilitate North Central's mission––fostering transformed lives into the image of Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. Much of his time focuses on preparing sermons and other class materials that provide the North Central community with spiritual food. Steve is married to Leslie; they have three adult children and two grandchildren.