Author Rick Bloomer and his family firmly believe in our mission. They have sponsored children for several years and consider themselves blessed to also be able to sponsor a student in our Leadership Development Program.
Over the past couple of years, my wife and I have partaken in the discipline of fasting. We have really focused on strengthening our relationship with the Lord, and with His grace and guidance we have experienced success with many challenges.
In September 2008, our daughter, who was born with spina bifida, had her only ventricular shunt revision to date (thank God). At that time and after hearing God’s calling to do so, my wife decided to do her first fast, with a dedication toward our daughter’s health. It was a 21-Day Daniel Fast, which essentially consists of consuming all natural plant-based foods only (fruits, vegetables, nuts).
About a week after our daughter’s shunt revision, we took her out of the bathtub one night and noticed that her shunt tract looked majorly infected. It was bulging out an inch from her neck.
We knew from all of our reading and study what an infected shunt looked like. We also knew that infections were somewhat common following surgery and that if she did ever have a shunt infection, it may require a hospital stay of 10+ days before it was resolved.
We quickly called the neurosurgeon and she told us to get to the hospital right away. It was about 7 p.m. We put our daughter down to sleep in our bedroom while we packed and got ready to go.
My wife, packing the suitcase on the living room floor, looked up at me and asked, “How will I ever comply with this fast while in the hospital?”
We knew after spending 14 days in the hospital after our daughter’s birth that the food certainly was not “Daniel Fast compliant.”
Couple that with the stress that is often present when dealing with such a situation and you can understand the potential difficulty here. But after thinking about it for a minute, she made it perfectly clear that because she made the commitment to the Lord, she would stick to it. My wife proceeded to pack her plain rice cakes, natural peanut butter, and fruit.
About an hour passed and we were ready to leave. My wife went in to wake our daughter and yelled for me to come into the room. When I arrived and looked at our daughter, I could see clearly that her shunt tract was perfectly normal. No bulging. No discoloration. No swelling. Perfectly and beautifully normal.
We called the neurosurgeon and she suggested to simply observe her and then to see how things looked in the morning. Well, in the morning, she looked great, and praise be to God — she has not had one major health problem since that night.
In fact, she started walking on her own this summer … a real miracle for a 2-year-old with spina bifida!
Some people might think that the issue with the shunt was mere coincidence. But we know better. That was the awesome and mighty hand of God blessing our daughter abundantly!
I strongly believe that this blessing was due to my wife’s obedience and faithfulness to the Lord during this difficult time. She accepted His challenge to complete the fast and He blessed our family because of it.
I can relay many similar stories of God’s blessings over our lives during other periods of fasting over the past two years. This is why I am so enthused about sharing the wonderful discipline of fasting with others.
In fact, a few months ago, God placed an idea in me to engage as many people as possible in a program of fasting.
Why? Because our family has experienced firsthand the absolute power of fasting and prayer and I want others to have the fulfilling experience that we have been blessed with.
But God also gave me an idea associated with the fast that involves “fasters” requesting sponsorship for their devotion and effort during the fast, in much the same way as they would if running a race or walking a 5K. This made perfect sense to me. Give up some of my food, my comfort, and my way of life in order to provide food for others in an attempt to enhance their way of life.
Because so many individuals who fast choose to follow the Daniel Fast, we have partnered with Susan Gregory (The Daniel Fast blogger), author of the best-selling book “The Daniel Fast: Feed Your Soul, Strengthen Your Spirit and Renew Your Body.”
Susan is a wonderful woman of God and oversees a New Year fast for thousands of individuals worldwide. She will be instrumental in promoting this program.
In addition, as my wife and I have been involved with Compassion over the past few years, we thought to ask Compassion to serve as the main partner, receiving funds from this initiative.
Specifically, funds raised will be directed to Compassion’s Global Food Crisis Program, to be used to provide food and other basic needs for some of the poorest people in this world.
In the true spirit of Christmas, please remember that the wise men came and gave gifts to Him and not to each other. Our own personal fasts might be the best gifts that we could ever provide to God — the giving of ourselves through a focused time of prayer and devotion to Him.
I hope that you will consider a fast this New Year. I also hope that you can help spread the word about this program so more people can learn of the benefits of Christian fasting.
It is our intent to engage as many people as possible in a fast this New Year — with the main objective of enhancing their own personal relationships with Christ.
When individual relationships are enhanced, group relationships are enhanced and good things really begin to happen.
You can learn more about this program by visiting www.fastingforfood.com.
I pray that the Lord will place on your heart the desire to dedicate yourself to Him this New Year through a focused period of fasting and prayer.