Inspired by the book A Place at the Table, I’ve decided to take on a similar diet as my sponsored child as a challenge to myself and as a way of getting a glimpse into what life is like for little Kobby from Ghana.
I’m at the end of my Compassion fast. Looking back over the past few weeks I can see that this experience has made me into a different person. It was so good to learn about the food culture of my sponsored child and gain an insight into what his attitude towards food might be, but I am amazed at how much God has blessed me by showing me all the things I have to be truly thankful for.
On the physical side of things, I found the hunger difficult to deal with. I didn’t like it. Denying myself of my usual routine and all the comforting food I would normally indulge in was uncomfortable and very inconvenient. As I’m sure it does for Kobby and his family, it required a lot of planning and forward thinking, which was hard at times. There was also periods where I would resent the bland ingredients of beans and rice for my diet and would crave something with a stronger taste. Peanut butter was like manna from heaven!
But God saw me through it by revealing to me everything I have to be thankful for in the blessings of my usual life, and so much more! 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says,
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
My greatest takeaway from this fast was not that I should feel more guilty about everything I have, nor was it that I needed to do more for hungry people in the world. In fact, the most profound thing that God showed me during this experience was how much I have to be thankful for. Better yet, He actually made me thankful for it! This sustained me during the hardest periods and I could see that God was using it for my sanctification.
This general thankfullness overflowed into the feast days. Every week you were allowed to have a feast day to celebrate and enjoy Jesus. It was basically the chance to have a normal meal again, but it was different this time – before the fast, this would have just been another routine meal, but now I was meeting it with so much appreciation. I can’t believe the work that God has done in my heart. The Holy Spirit was revealing things to me about God in ways I could never have imagined.
God was even making me aware of things other than food that I have so much reason to be grateful for, sleeping in a warm and comfortable bed for one. There have been nights when I have just been lying awake, marvelling at it.
In God’s providence, it was also excellent timing to do such a diet. I had a trip to Kenya planned just a few weeks away from my fast and when I was there I noticed things that I normally wouldn’t.
Most importantly, my Compassion fast made me realise that child poverty isn’t a problem that’s on the other side of the world. It’s my problem and I cannot ignore it. It may just be a coincidence, but during the time of my fast God has really put the nation of Brazil on my heart, especially the poor communities there.
Who knows, God may have been using my Compassion fast to make me truly grateful for what God has given me and prepare my heart for a future of simple living.
Read all of my blog posts on my Compassion Fast.