Hungry for God’s Presence
“Yet even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart,
with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;
and rend your hearts and not your garments.”
Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love,
and he relents over disaster.
That we might be more fully present to God is the very reason for fasting. By a physical fast we seek to quiet the demands of the body, thereby humbling it so that we can hear and be obedient to that word the Lord is speaking to us. It is then we can repent aright, and make the necessary prayers of intercession and atonement for others.
The Lenten fast is a special means of practicing God’s presence. By abstaining from some good but finite nourishment, we affirm that God Himself is both ultimately and immanently our sustenance, energy, and enjoyment. Each pang of hunger or want is a prompting to return to God with all our hearts. This season of repentance is an invaluable gift, most needful and fruitful. Let us keep the fast, then, with joy, knowing that our gracious God intends to fill our deepest hunger: to live in familiar communion with Him.
 Leanne Payne, The Broken Image (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 1981), 130.
Painting: Eugène Burnand, 1900, Heimgefunden [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.