As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God. Psalm 42:1 NLT
When my husband, Dave, and I were engaged to be married, I had to return to pack up my apartment in Pueblo, Colorado, and work out a month-long notice with my company before transferring to another office in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. I was never so homesick in my life than I was during those four weeks of separation from my soul mate and future husband. My supper was the furthest thought from my mind every evening as I would hurry to make sure I was home at the pre-arranged time of our extended nightly long-distance phone conversation. I never gave more than a passing thought to the rapidly growing phone bill. All other obligations and priorities took second place to those sweet hours of being together the best we could manage considering we were separated by more than fourteen hundred miles and two time zones. The most important thing to me during that time was the sound of his voice every night on the other end of the line, those precious moments shared with him even though we were far apart, and the loving reassurance that after being temporarily apart, we would be together as husband and wife for the rest of our lives.
In the beginning of our relationship with God, we often have the same kind of passion that we do in the beginning of a human relationship. We are willing to overcome any obstacle, climb any mountain, and cross any sea in order to spend time in the presence of the Lord. But as our relationship with God matures, we might begin to take our time with him for granted, just as we often do with our human companion. In Revelation 2:45, Jesus scolds the church at Ephesus: But I have this complaint against you. You dont love me or each other as you did at first! Look how far you have fallen! Turn back to me and do the works you did at first (NLT).
One of the often overlooked tools we can use as Christians to renew our passion is fasting. Spiritual needs and desires are often difficult for us to express because we are physical beings who exist in a physical world. When we intentionally skip a meal in order to devote ourselves to prayer, study, and meditation on the things of God, the rumblings of hunger we feel in our bodies become a way to physically express the spiritual hunger of our souls. We are saying, Lord, right now, I want to spend this time with you more than I want to satisfy my stomach. The discipline of fasting and prayer can be a profound way to rekindle our passion for our relationship with God by helping us to give a concrete, physical voice to our abstract spiritual hungers and desires.
Father, help me show a passion for you today that is greater than my passion for anything fleeting that life has to offer
me. Rekindle my desire to spend time with you as my first priority.
– Mary Nichols, Commissioned Minister, Teays Valley Church of God, Scott Depot, West Virginia