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Is This Not the Kind of Fasting I have Chosen?

Author: Lori Carter





Isaiah 58:6-12

New International Version (NIV)

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry
    and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
    and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness[a] will go before you,
and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.

“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
    with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
    and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
    and your night will become like the noonday.
11 The Lord will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
    like a spring whose waters never fail.
12 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

My mind is going 1000 miles per second right now. The above verses are what I read in my daily reading this morning and it has caused me to think about the condition of the world today. Each night I go to sleep praying, praying about the needs of others, praying about all the murders, missing people, children,poor and hungry and wars, praying about all the super storms and destruction that is displayed in the daily news. Today I thought about our society in general when I read these verses. I think about my poor beginnings and thank God that I was never rich. Being poor most of my life has taught me what the real riches in this world are. They are not the material things you can purchase when you have the money but are more the love, compassion, friendship of others who understand life the way you do. There are no electronics, furniture, clothes, food or other items that can take the place of those you love and who love you.

I think about those who have less than I do, and wish I could do many things for them, and I find myself appalled at the way those who have plenty treat their family and those who have less than them. In a country like America, there should be no hunger, no poor, and no relatives left alone to grow old and die by themselves. Greed has taken hold in all forms, in all levels of our society.

People farm their parents out to nursing homes and assisted care because they don’t want to take the time, or have the burden of caring for them. It doesn’t matter that their parents raised them, fed them, put them through school to get them to the point there are in their life. They just don’t have time. I’m sure there are many that actually get better treatment at these places than they would in their children’s homes, but still, their children often forget for a time that they are there.

The verses above also spoke to my heart about how selfish this world has become. Most children, today, want the latest electronics, the newest, most fashionable clothes, expensive birthday parties, graduation parties and the like. They want everything handed to them on a silver platter, and they will be the ones who fail, who can’t take the world by the horns and turn it around to better their lives. They will not be strong, they will not be fighters, and they won’t be survivors because it is not part of their upbringing.

I thank God for my poor beginnings, I thank him that I have never been rich, and I thank him because he has always provided. Every experience I have had has taught me something of survival. Even when I was homeless and hungry, I learned lessons. Today, he meets every need without my even asking. I worry not what tomorrow will bring for I know he will supply my needs and even more.

It’s time for people to wake up and realize that they are going down the wrong path. I remember reading or hearing somewhere that you should always live beneath your means and I truly think that is true. It teaches you how to survive with less or less than less but it also wakes you up to needs of so many others.

If you are fasting today or planning a fast in the near future, are you fasting for the right things? When you pray to God are you asking for just yourself or are you praying for the needs of so many others? The right mind-set is essential before you go to God in fasting and prayer, but that mind-set also needs to be the rules by which you govern your thoughts and actions. It is not something you should do one day and forget the next.  It’s time to shrug off the cloak of selfishness and get back to the basics of living in Gods truth and light.

There will always be those, like myself, who do not have the financial ability to do for others, but there will never be an excuse for treating anyone differently that has less and there will never be an excuse for holding back your prayers for them.

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