I know that headline is so common in the sports world right now, that it might not even be noticed. But I just figured I would join the trend and get my confession online. I cheated. Nope, no PED’s to make my sermons better. Nope no fake deaths to engender sympathy in the annual vote for best pastor. (Surely they have one of those somewhere?) But I cheated.
I cheated on my fast. At Calvary we embarked together on a 21 Day season of prayer and fasting…and I told you that I would be fasting from food, facebook and tv. I’ve been doing pretty good on the facebook and tv part. (I did do a facebook search for a young man from a family that Lynn and I served in MN, but no posting, replying, friending, or liking.) But one night… I did eat.
Someone with whom I was fasting — I won’t mention her name, but it’s the only woman to whom I’ve ever been married — called me from Pittsburgh, at a restaurant, with my daughter. I was all alone at home. Well I was with Josh, but that’s sometimes like being all alone at home, and when she confessed that she had eaten. Well it was a weak moment at the end of my first week of fasting. I hung up and thought, “If she can do it, I can do it.” So I ate.
I ate a baloney sandwich with cheese. The baloney wasn’t that great but the bread…wow, carbs. Then I had a few mashed potatoes with peas, that was amazing. To top it off I had a piece of Josh’s Digiorno’s pizza with pepperoni. I almost burnt my mouth, trying to eat it so fast. Okay I didn’t top it off with the pizza. I also had three nacho chips from the purple bag and a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal. That’s all…that I remember…and I haven’t eaten since.
Why am I sharing this? Well partially for encouragement. Some of you have been fasting and you cheated/broke/ate or peeked at facebook. This isn’t a legal thing. It’s not a religious thing. You didn’t fail unless you quit. Start again. This is for you, it’s not a way to impress God. Start again.
But even more than the encouragement, a thought hit me in the midst of my feasting and I wanted to share it with you. When it hit me, it actually made me pause and pray. I prayed, “God would you please make me this hungry for you. Would you please make me so hungry for just a taste of you, that a week without you will cause me to dive into you with the same intensity that I just dove into this food? Make my heart miss you, like my mouth misses the taste of food and my stomach misses the presence of food. Make me hungry for you.”
The Bible is full of great hungry-for-God scriptures to ponder and pray. Like…
- “One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple… My heart says of you, ‘Seek his face!’ Your face, Lord, I will seek” (Psalm 27:4, 8).
- “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.” (Psalm 34:8)
- “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” (Psalm 42:1-2).
- “How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young — a place near your altar, O LORD Almighty, my King and my God. Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you… Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked” (Psalm 84:1-4, 10).
- “‘For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world…’ Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry’” (John 6:33, 35a).
Have you ever felt that hungry for God? I’m not planning on cheating on my fast again but I am hanging on to the memory of a Monday evenign feast and asking God, “Would you make me that hungry for you?”