I can still remember when I was in the 5th grade (the picture above is from my 8th grade year) my eyes started to give me problems. I noticed it when I was in the back of the classroom – one of the privileges of your last name starting with “W!” The problem was I couldn’t see the chalkboard. Actually, I couldn’t see hardly anything far away. My parents took me to an eye doctor where they examined my eyes and determined I needed… what? Glasses! That’s right – I had to get glasses.
I picked out a wire rim pair that had the automatic shading lenses. They would get darker when you stepped outside. I guess I was thinking about all the outdoor activities I enjoyed not how dorky they would look. So, the glasses gave new opportunity for the local bullies to call me names, usually it was simply four eyes. Not only did they look funny, but they also hurt when I first put them on. The doctor said the headaches wouldn’t last long. It just took some time for my eyes to adjust and for my ears to get used to carrying the frames around on my head.
Uncomfortable, heavy, inconvenient, dorky, with a slight shade of brown trimmed in gold, that’s part of what I remember about my pair of glasses. However, the most significant thing I remember was putting them on in the doctors office and, and, and, I COULD SEE! Yes! There were letters on that stupid wall and now I could actually tell what letters they were.
The drive home was amazing! I never realized what I was missing. Life before my glasses was out of focus and just a blur. Now, the leaves on the trees had detail. The road signs gave directions. There were squirrels running around in the park and birds flying in the air. It was like a whole new world.
There have been times in my life when my spiritual life has been out of focus as well. Times when God seemed distant. It might have been because I had neglected our relationship. It could have been my pride, lust, prejudice, gluttony, desire for more money, or a thousand other things.
I have discovered a cure for this spiritual blurriness –“a pair of glasses” that put things in perspective for me. Jesus knew about it and did it. Moses was great at it. Nehemiah was all about it. King Jehoshaphat called for the entire nation of Israel to do it. Paul, Barnabas, and the disciples were smart enough to do it. John the Baptist taught his disciples how to do it. The church of Antioch did it. I’m not sure why it took me so long to figure it out. I think this may be one of the most neglected of all spiritual disciplines and at the same time one of the most powerful one’s available to us.
It’s called fasting. And like my new glasses in the 5th grade, a time of fasting and prayer may at first be a little uncomfortable, give me a caffeine headache (from the lack of it), and cause people to think I’m nuts for doing it. But, when I fast and pray, my Lord and this world He has placed me in comes into focus. It allows me to humble my heart, see how much I rely on Him, and focus more clearly on His agenda for my life more than ever before.
So, on March 3rd, I have called our church to a 40-day Pre-Easter fast. I need focus – I need clarity – I want to see God do miracles – I want to know His heart and His will for my life. I know it won’t be easy. But, I’m confident it will be an amazing journey.
"Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship." Romans 12:1