Courtney was looking for answers. She was confused at times by the scripture I gave her. Where there is confusion there is no peace and God is not the author of confusion but of peace. 1 Cor 14:33
I could do nothing to help.
It seems her need for answers was two-fold. She needed to know if someone could be saved for years, turn around and leave the church or seemingly leave God and still make it to heaven.
One of the youth ministers and I tried to explain what the scripture said but that just confused her more.
We had to be still, we had to be silent, and we had to pray.
Her iPhone fast began on a Sunday night.
No text! No chat! No Facebook!
I was folding clothes and my cell phone was lying on the bed. So I reached over and text Ashley, Courtney’s mom, “how’s it going?”
Unknown to me at that time, Courtney had walked into the bedroom where Ashley was napping. She woke her up. Ashley recalls that she looked up at Courtney and the light behind her made her look angelic. She had her Bible in her hand and a smile on her face.
“I got one of my answers!” she exclaimed.
Ashley said, “You did? Did you tell Pastor Tim?”
“No. I still don’t have my phone!” was the reply. At that moment my text made it through and Courtney looked down at Ashley’s phone and said, “But there he is!”
We talked and I found out that after reading through 1 & 2 Peter, she found her answer in 1 John 2:19 – These people left our churches, but they never really belonged with us; otherwise they would have stayed with us. When they left, it proved that they did not belong with us.
The answer to her was clear and God directed her to the scripture she needed. That such people that fall away totally never really belonged.
I was amazed. She was joyfully overwhelmed.
Now it was on to part 2 – what does God want her to do? How does she fit into the Kingdom?
About an hour or so later, a text came through on my phone, “I’m back!”
She had her answer.
That had to be one of the fastest fasts I have ever heard someone do.
I know God is not limited by time and He works miracles every day. I am convinced that each fast serves its own purpose.
I believe this is just the beginning for Courtney. She will learn that fasting will deepen her relationship with God.
She may also discover the rudeness of some just as the Psalmist did – when I weep and fast they scoff at me. Ps 69:10
Perhaps she will someday find the joy of fasting food, a practice that Jesus, Moses, Daniel, Elijah, and Paul all did.
Oh, and Pastor Tim, though I’ve never gone as long as those gentlemen.
I was reading about fasting the other evening and saw what God had to say to some that were fasting.
‘We have fasted before you!’ they say. ‘Why aren’t you impressed? We have been very hard on ourselves,and you don’t even notice it!’
“I will tell you why!” I respond. “It’s because you are fasting to please yourselves. Even while you fast, you keep oppressing your workers. What good is fasting when you keep on fighting and quarreling? This kind of fasting will never get you anywhere with me. You humble yourselves by going through the motions of penance, bowing your heads like reeds bending in the wind. You dress in burlap and cover yourselves with ashes. Is this what you call fasting? Do you really think this will please the Lord?
“No, this is the kind of fasting I want:
Free those who are wrongly imprisoned; lighten the burden of those who work for you.
Let the oppressed go free, and remove the chains that bind people.
Share your food with the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless.
Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help.
“Then your salvation will come like the dawn, and your wounds will quickly heal. Your godliness will lead you forward, and the glory of the Lord will protect you from behind.
YES & AMEN