I’ve always known about fasting. I grew up hearing about it in the church and seeing my family fast and pray. If you aren’t familiar with fasting, there are many verses in the Bible where we see people fasting in times of trouble or conflict.
When Esther is going to confront her husband (the king) about the oppression of the Israelites, she asks her people to fast and pray for her (Esther 4:16).
Paul and Barnabas fasted as they decided on who to appoint as elders in the church (Acts 14:23).
Moses fasted when he was on Mt. Sinai receiving the 10 Commandments (Exodus 34:28).
Of course, the greatest example is Jesus, fasting for 40 days in the desert before beginning His earthly ministry (Matthew 4:1-11).
Throughout my life, I’ve witnessed many moments when the church has joined together to fast and pray. I’ve been asked to join in on the fast many times. My secret? I had NEVER fasted. Honestly, I was afraid. It terrified me to purposely starve myself. I imagined I would be “hangry,” have a headache, and feel sick to my stomach. Despite sounding incredibly selfish (which honestly it was), I never thought there was a “good enough” reason to bother fasting. I could pray all day for something and keep eating, no problem. So, why bother fasting?
Back in January I received the news that my Aunt Diane had been diagnosed with cancer for the 5th time. Diane was born with a bone disease that has caused tumors to grow on her bones requiring frequent surgeries. Although most of these tumors are benign, over the last several years, she has had multiple tumors around her iliac crest that have required the removal of almost the entire bone. The last surgery (a little over a year ago) caused a hernia to form that had gone untreated by doctors. When the doctors found the cancer this time, it had grown lightspeeds faster than any tumor before. Because of this, the doctors predicted her cancer to be in stage 4, requiring that she would need chemo, radiation – which for this type of cancer has not proven to be very effective. Needless to say, it was bad and the family was in constant prayer.
The weekend before her surgery, my mom shared an encouraging and miraculous story about a woman who’s entire life changed after she prayed and fasted for over 7 days! The story was so amazing that for the first time ever, I believed that maybe, just maybe, there was a point to fasting (you know, other than the fact that the Bible talks about how awesome it is). Needless to say, I was intrigued.
My mom mentioned that the miracle woman and she would be fasting and praying for my aunt and her surgery. That Friday, I woke up and made a decision - I was going to try and fast. My aunt was definitely a cause I could justify as worth it, so if there was a time to fast, it was now. So I decided I would do my best, and by ‘my best’ I knew this was going to have to be all God’s best.
And BOY, did he SHOW UP.
The day went by fine, like, completely fine. I enjoyed the day, went to work, and didn’t start feeling hungry at all until I was heading to dinner that night. That alone was a miracle to me.
But God wasn’t done yet.
Shortly after I broke my fast and was discussing the day with my mom, we both got a text. My aunt had recently had a scan to detect how far the cancer had spread in her body (the doctors suspected it had moved throughout her body, not just in the hip). We didn’t know when her scan results would come in, but God knew. That text told us that her scans had come back CLEAR. The cancer was localized to only the hip and a few weeks later after surgery, the doctors were shocked to discover that the cancer was only stage 1 and easily removed. No chemo. No radiation. AND her hernia was repaired.
I couldn’t believe it. I started to cry (which I never do) in awe of what God did from me showing enough faith to trust Him. To fast.
God never fails to shock me when He appears in the most fantastic ways. I’m ashamed to say that I was too much of a coward to fast in the past, but I am continually redeemed by God and grow in my walk with him. This experience has taught me how much God can do with us when we just show a little faith, a little trust.
I hope this story might encourage you to try something new, stretch your faith, trust God with something you haven’t in the past. You’ll be amazed what might come out of it.
Ashley is an intern at CCC and runs the church’s social media presence. She also volunteers in various church ministries. Ashley works as an ESL teacher and tutor and loves being a housewife as well. She and Jonathan were married in October of 2018 and have a cat named Reese (who is more like a dog - which Ashley greatly appreciates).