Fasting as an Expression of Love

Focus 40Day 11

I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine. -Song of Songs 6:3 KJV

With two active kids, three dogs, and a tortoise at our house, it’s not always easy for my husband
and I to find time to share romantic moments together. Each of us has a demanding career as well,
so date night often gets bumped off the calendar by meetings, work deadlines, school projects, and
other demands of our busy schedule. For all the concerts we’ve never heard, the movies we’ve never
seen, and the intimate dinners we’ve never gotten to share in the twelve years of our marriage, we
still have a healthy relationship because we’ve managed to find creative ways to express our love for
each other that wouldn’t be obvious to the casual observer. For example, pot roast with carrots and
potatoes is my husband’s favorite meal, so anytime I want to clearly communicate my love for him,
all I have to do is put a pot roast in the crock pot. To him, being greeted at the front door after a
long day at work by the savory aroma of roast beef is better than the thought of a fine dinner at a
five-star restaurant, and he knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that the meal was prepared with love
just for him. Slow dancing in the kitchen when our song comes on the radio, laughing at funny
things our kids have said, or when I wear a certain perfume or a piece of special jewelry that he
purchased for me – all of these things communicate wordlessly that I’ve been thinking of him during
the day and say a silent “I love you,” that only he can hear. These ordinary, everyday romantic
moments make up the majority of the romantic space in our marriage and serve as the intimate
foundation that supports our family through times of hardship and pain.

For me, fasting has served a similar purpose in my relationship with God. When Jesus
addresses the topics of prayer, giving, and fasting in Matthew 6:5-16, he cautions that these acts are
acts of personal devotion. While there are occasions where we engage corporately in all three, our
relationship with God thrives when it is built on the foundation of a strong personal, private
devotional life. When I am fasting, whether it is for a few hours, a day, or longer, it’s as if I get to
spend my whole day in my “secret place” alone with God. I find that as I am fasting, I turn
increasingly to God in prayer and meditation on his Word, and my whole day becomes filled with
stolen romantic moments with him. As I go about my daily business, my fasting is like the special
perfume or the aroma of pot roast, secretly telegraphing the message “I love you, God” heavenward
like a sweet-smelling incense.

Lord, may my actions this day communicate my love for you and show that my relationship with you is a priority in my life. Forgive me when I fall short of this goal and help me to work on having a strong, intimate relationship with you as my deepest desire.

– Mary Nichols, Commissioned Minister, Teays Valley Church of God, Scott Depot, West Virginia

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