My whole life I have never participated in Lent or even understood it. I knew in theory that if you denied yourself something that you may be more apt to turn to God and pray when you wanted that piece of chocolate or cup of coffee you were fasting from. That was not enough motivation for me to give up something I loved, so Lent only meant that Easter was close and Spring was soon to be upon us, until last year when we took on the Lent Adventure.
Our Lent Adventure included only buying milk, eggs, cheese and produce and apart from that eating our pantry and freezer. I only wore 7 items of clothing (which is plenty in my opinion), apart from work clothes and underclothes. We only spent money on food (mentioned above), gas and ministry apart from the monthly “get to’s,” mortgage, phone, utilities, insurance, etc. We “fasted” from movies, video games, FB, and limited phone calls and emails. We went through all of our belongings and got rid of 322 “things” (7/day for 46 days--some people take Sundays off so Lent is only 40 days). We tried to keep a Sabbath but I am sure we were unsuccessful! And the most important adventure in our Lent Adventure was stopping 7 times a day to pray (which I know I fell short of many times!)
Lent is not biblical but man-made, but fasting is straight from the Lord. Isaiah 58 tells us the kind of fasting the Lord wants of us: “This is the kind of fast I want. I want you to remove the sinful chains, to tear away the ropes of burdensome yoke, to set free the oppressed, and to break every burdensome yoke. I want you to share your food with the hungry and to provide shelter for the homeless, oppressed people. When you see someone naked, clothe him! Don’t turn your back on your own flesh and blood! Then your light will shine like the sunrise; your restoration will quickly arrive; your godly behavior will go before you, and the Lord’s splendor will be your rear guard.” Isaiah 58:6-8
We are to first remove our sinful chains and the ropes of burdensome yoke. For my family and me these are all the “idols” that we hold so dear that keep us from the Lord. “Thou shalt have no other God’s before me.” We are then to be the hands and feet of Jesus to the hungry, the homeless, the oppressed. We have the power of the Holy Spirit in us to meet the needs of those in our community and around the world that are in need. The Lord’s light will shine through us, we will be restored and the Lord will go before us and behind us (it’s a promise!!!) when we do this.
Through our Lent Adventure last year the Lord has revealed to me that fasting IS MORE and not less. God does something when we simplify our feasting, distracted, people-pleasing, entertain-me lives and we allow Him to speak to us. I know that He is always speaking to us and wooing us and pursuing us as His Bride, but I know that I miss it, every day, many times a day.
As my family embarks on our Lent Adventure this year I am more apprehensive. I know I should be more excited and less concerned, especially after The Lord showed up in such amazing, tangible ways last year, but of course I ran to the store late last night to get food to carry us through the next 46 days. I know that it is silly to think my effort, my ability can carry us anywhere. It’s all about Him! It’s ALWAYS all about Him!
- Lisa W.