Our guest today is very special to me. In fact, Christy Nueman has taught me more about Praying and Fasting, and therefore seeing God in the everyday moments of a simple life, than anyone else. More than any book, any blog post, any other friend. And so, I find today's story especially sweet because, in a way, I had the same experience her son had... I saw the way his mother would fast and pray, and the joy she received coming to the Lord this way, and I wanted to emulate her as well.
Fasting Like a Child, by Christy Nueman
My 6-year old son matter-of-factly announced, "I'm going to pray and fast. No bananas for 4-days."
I stopped talking mid-sentence. Silence settled. I shot a sideways glance across the dinner table. My husband stiffened like a bronze statue. He stared at the ceiling. His forehead crinkled and eyebrows furrowed.
I sipped some water to stall. My head felt like a 15 pound bowling ball resting on my clinched fist. Questions flooded my mind. Can a child fast? Does he know what fasting means? What will he do without his favorite snack for 4-days?
My son swallowed his last bite of buttered pasta. “Mom, I’m all done. Can I have dessert now?”
He started fidgeting in the chair. I stammered, “Sure, sweetheart. We’ll have dessert soon. But are you sure you want to fast? You know that means no bananas for 4-days.”
He confidently answered, "Yeah. I want to fast because I want to get this close to God." He pushed his pudgy palms firmly together to emphasize, “this close”. Somehow with those four words—THIS CLOSE TO GOD—our simple supper became sacred.
I locked eyes with my son. His hazel eyes beamed. Mine brimmed with tears.
“When do you want to start?” I asked.
“Tomorrow” he answered.
And he didn’t eat a single banana for the next 4-days.
Almost immediately, we saw the Lord begin to move in unusual ways during and after our little one's fast. Funny to me, he gave up fruit and suddenly we saw spiritual fruit in his life. However, this ripe “fruit” initially looked blemished and bruised.
Let me explain. About a week after his 4-day “no bananas” fast, my son got sick. We had just moved cross-country and my husband was on an extended business trip. I sent a desperate SOS text to a brand-new friend in my neighborhood. And before I knew it, she dropped off a bunch of bananas, a coloring book and medicine at my doorstep. I had only asked for prayer. And like a flash flood this storm-of-sickness passed.
A couple days later my son scribbled a single sentence. He read it out loud, “I can see Jesus.”
I scooted next to him and said, “You know. That’s like the verse from Matthew 5:8. Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God.”
Then a thought illuminated my mind like a bolt of lightning. It was an image of Jesus calming my son’s storm-of-sickness—just like He calmed the furious squall on the Sea of Galilee for His fearful disciples.
My heart instantly warmed. Praise pulsed from my head to my toes. I exhaled deeply and blurted out, “Hey! Do you remember right after you fasted bananas for 4-days you got really sick? And I sent that prayer request to my friend and she brought you that big bunch of bananas. We didn’t even ask for bananas.”
His eyes widened. A gradual grin formed and he said, “Yeah, yeah! I remember. That’s a miracle!” I nodded whole-heartedly.
Yes, I do believe God performs miracles every day—miracles ordinary and extraordinary. Sometimes I think the greatest miracle is awareness of the nearness of our “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).
Dear Friends, are you in need of a miracle? Are you needing to sense the nearness of God in your life? Fasting improves our spiritual senses. Just like looking through a magnifying glass helps us see an object in greater detail—fasting magnifies God. We begin to see God everywhere—His presence, power, peace, provision, and protection our lives. Jesus was called Immanuel which translated means “God with us” (Matthew 1:23). And He promises us, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age" (Matthew 28:20).
Do you want to see a miracle? Have you considered joining this fast?
Today marks day 24 of this “no sugar” fast. which means that if you start today, you have a glorious (albeit challenging) 16 days ahead of you! It’s not too late for you to join.
Maybe you’ve heard about this fast from family and friends, but you’ve thought, “This isn’t the best time for me. I’ve never fasted before. And I can’t possibly fast from sugar that long.” But you just can’t silence that persistent urging to give it a try. Join us!
Or perhaps you began this fast leading the pack, but you stopped because of stress or sickness. And now you feel disqualified. Let me assure you there is nothing that can make you ineligible to fast. Join us!
But if you’re still not convinced that fasting is for you, can I tell you a funny fasting faux pas?
When I casually mentioned this 40-day fast to my husband, he looked hesitant. But without wavering, my son said, “Yeah, Daddy! Let’s all fast together!” He couldn’t resist my son’s infectious enthusiasm. So fasting became a family affair.
However on the first day of the 40-day fast my Kindergartener bashfully admitted he ate a cupcake at school. So we made this age-appropriate exception: our son’s fast started when he got home every day.
And this is good news for two reasons: God’s grace never changes and there’s not just one-way to fast. Keep in mind that Biblical fasting is going without food, but other examples of fasting are abstaining from things like: sugar, caffeine, alcohol, TV, social media, sleep and even sex for a period of time.
After his cupcake confession, my son looked deeply into my eyes and said, “Well, I think it’s going to take two or three fasts for me to get really close to God.”
I paused and prayed for wise words. “You know. God loves you so much. And He is always with you. But in this life, we’ll always desire to feel closer to God—no matter how many times we pray and fast. Our earthly eyes can only see God like a dim reflection in a mirror, but in heaven we’ll have new eyes that can see Him.”
My son’s eyes brightened and he said, “I can’t wait to see Jesus!” And in the very next breath he said, “Mom, will you make me snickerdoodle cookies when this fast is over?”
I tickled his tummy. Tiny giggles erupted.
“Of course, I will!” I answered. And I sealed the deal by kissing his round cheek.
Lord, I want to see miracles. Help me to walk by faith not by sight. I desire supernatural eyesight to see You working all things together for good in my current life storm. Teach me lasting lessons from this simple story about fasting like a child. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
“When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child…For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.” 1 Corinthians 13:11, 12 (NKJV)
“At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, ‘Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.’” Matthew 18:1-5 (NIV)
Don't you agree? Isn't Christy just the most darling example to follow as we tentatively learn to draw near to God in this new way? Of course, she'd blush in my literal Living Room if we were all sitting around together today. But here in this virtual space... I can gush as much as I please!
Christy Nueman lives a simple life deep-in-the-heart of Texas with her college sweetheart and son. She’s passionate about marriage, motherhood and ministry. She’s co-founder of A.B.I.D.E. Adoption and Infertility Ministry and on the Board of Directors for Sarah's Laughter. She warmly welcomes guest bloggers from all seasons of life to share their stories on her blog called The Write Season.