Joy. First 7, Day 6.



Once while musing on the extent of his sufferings, Paul came to this conclusion: “I consider that our present sufferings are not worthy to be compared with the glory that will be revealed in us.” It was for the joy that was set before him, that Jesus endured the cross. Chesterton said the great secret of Jesus, and of the Christian, is joy. Paul noted that though outwardly we are wasting away, inwardly we are being renewed day by day. Take a moment to really note your inward condition - are there changes in you? Do you sense a growing seed of joy inside you? I do. It is not like our sacrifices for Jesus are for nothing. On the contrary, Jesus makes a promise to us that he will replace our sorrow with joy. This sense I have had growing is what I am trying to lay hold of in the last two days of the fast.


As you may be noticing some weight loss, mental clarity, or maybe just a feeling of satisfaction at having come this far, a word of advice: be happy about it. That is not why we fast, but it is a metaphor of the reality that following Jesus will bless us. When we lose our lives for his name's sake, we find them. When we die, we live.” Unless a seed falls to the ground and dies,” Jesus said, “it will not bear fruit.” God does not watch us waste away, he fills our hunger with good things.


I think I am actually enjoying the hunger. It is a constant reminder of Jesus. But what I miss (which I think is good) is eating as fellowship. I have missed meetings over meals and dinner time at my house. You might already be planning your end of fast meal. That is good, if you think about who you want to share it with.  For as sure as we fast we know we will one day feast. Fasting is rare; feasting, community and joy are the norm for us.


For that reason I am suggesting that we all break the fast at 6pm on Tuesday (the seventh day) and if it is possible, to break the fast with others. Have a time of prayer and celebration with your household, your micro church, someone. Also, I might suggest if you have not been, to take some juice today and tomorrow, to prepare your body for food again. And when you do, enjoy it.

Brian Sanders