Have you ever suffered? If you’re not an internet bot reading this then I can almost guarantee the answer is yes. Whether in the form of sickness, death or heartbreak suffering is an inescapable and difficult part of the human experience. In the book of Daniel we encounter a group of individuals who are suffering immensely.
They have just seen their home attacked and destroyed, in many cases loved ones may have been lost and they find themselves taken captive in a foreign land. Talk about a hard day. We are introduced to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah on this day. They had managed to escape the forced labour many of their families and friends faced because of their good looks, intellect and physique but now they are being forced to change their names and learn how to walk the walk and talk the talk of this foreign people.
It is in this moment that Daniel and his comrades decide to fast. I don’t know about you but if I was in their position a little comfort food would go a long way to help. They have laid before them the best food in all of Babylon and yet they ask to eat only vegetables and water. They don’t seek comfort in their suffering they intensify it. They have lost everything and the little comfort they have left to hold onto they choose to lay down.
Fasting can often come across like a discipline for the ”spiritual Christians” but I can promise you it’s not. Fasting in the Old Testament especially was for those who were at the end of their rope, for those who had lost and suffered and had nowhere left to turn. But God…
God was the source of strength for Daniel and the Israelites while in exile and they knew it, they humbled themselves and chose to push into their need for and dependence upon God to bring them through. The same is true for us today. If you’re finding the fast hard then you’re doing it right. My prayer for us today is that we begin to find delight and comfort in him even just a little more than we did yesterday and do the same again tomorrow.