Saturday, August 11, 2012

Droughts and Fasting

My first few days of the challenge have been interesting. I've tried some interesting new foods (the kind of things that my sponsored child in Ghana would eat), cut down on portion sizes for certain meals, and tried to focus on plainer/more natural/cheaper foods. In addition to the diet changes I've changed up my working habits somewhat. Instead of starting an evening of cleaning offices by turning on podcasts, I play soothing Gregorian chants and try to concentrate on prayer. I struggle with my thoughts constantly straying, but I feel better just for shutting off the constant barrage of information and letting myself think. 

Ideas happen to come to you when you think, and one idea that came to me recently concerned the drought that has been plaguing Northwest Arkansas (the whole Midwest, actually) for several months. Record high temperatures for weeks on end, no rainfall, the sun beating down like a hammer and cloudless skies laughing cruelly in our faces--it's been a time of testing. This summer has taught us several important things:
  • Air conditioning is one of God's greatest gifts.
  • Homemade strawberry lemonade rocks.
  • On cooler days, biking as a family is tons of fun.
  • You can't make it rain.
I know that there is probably technology available somewhere out there that will create rain on demand, but it can't be very effective or we would have been seeing a lot of it down here a long time ago. In the end it comes down to God--if He doesn't choose to make it rain, it won't. 

This creates a unique atmosphere of dependence, not unlike that of a fast. By now I know that hunger pains are distinctly uncomfortable, and they remind me that if God chose to withhold sustenance from me, I couldn't do a thing about it. I can't create my own food from nothing, or stubbornly go without it altogether. I am completely at God's mercy. It's just like the drought: we can moan and beg and cry for rain, but in the end we're at God's mercy. 

Perhaps that is the big lesson that fasts and droughts are meant to teach us. Whatever strength or technology or great ideas we may have, each of us must still rely on the Lord alone for our daily bread. 

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