And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
“Sometimes the day of affliction becomes as a fast which has been turned into a feast. It is a trying thing to lose one’s health, and to be near to death; to lose one’s wealth, and to wonder how the children will be fed; to have heavy tidings of disaster come to you day after day in doleful succession. But if you can grasp the promise, and know that “All things work together for good to them that love God;” if you can see a covenant God in all, then the fast turns into a feast, and you say, “God is going to favor me again. He is only pruning the vine to make it bring forth better grapes. He is going to deal with me again after his own wise, loving, and fatherly way of discipline.” You then hear the Lord saying to you –
“Then trust me, and fear not: thy life is secure;
My wisdom is perfect, supreme is my power;
In love I correct thee, thy soul to refine,
To make thee at length in my likeness to shine.”
I have met with some saints who have been happier in their sickness and in their poverty than ever they were in health and in wealth. I remember how one, who had been long afflicted, and had got well, but had lost some of the brightness of the Lord’s presence, which he had enjoyed during his sickness, said, “Take me back to my bed again. Let me be ill again, for I was well when I was ill. I am afraid that I am getting ill now that I am well.” It is often worth while being afflicted in order to experience the great lovingkindness of God, which he bestows so abundantly on us in the hour of trouble and perplexity. Yes, God turns our fasts into feasts, and we are glad in the midst of our sorrow; we can praise and bless his name for all that he does.”
Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892) in Sermon 2248 intended for Reading on Lord’s-Day on 20 March 1892, delivered at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington, on Lord’s-day Evening, 7 September 1890.
God turns our fasting into feasting because we forgo that which cannot satisfy and tap into that which does. Fasting is about saying “No” to some things so we can say “Yes” to better things.
It also teaches us how to live life after Lent. Let me explain.
Just as the saints Spurgeon recounts learned that God met them in a powerful way in their suffering, when we say “No” to things, we feel like we suffer for a season, but we learn what is necessary and what satisfies.
We don’t end up lacking, but rather, we flourish in a way that only God could arrange. Enjoy your fast, because God turns our fasts into feasts!
I notice that Spurgeon wrote this in the twilight of his life. It’s a lesson that can take us years to learn. Do yourself a kindness. Teach it to yourself this Lent!
I am flying to Guatemala City today to speak at the CONFIABLE Founders event tomorrow. CONFIABLE stands for “Concilio de Organizaciones No-lucrativas, Financieramente Integras, Auditables, Bíblica y Legalmente Establecidas” or “Council of Non-profit Organizations, Financially Integrated, Auditable, Biblically and Legally Established.” CONFIABLE aims to serve Christ-centered churches and ministries in Guatemala like ECFA does in the USA. I also have time blocked for prayer and meetings regarding Global Trust Partners, and to speak twice for G2G on Saturday on governance and generosity.
I’d appreciate your prayers for a safe and fruitful trip.