“What are you doing here, Elijah?” (1 Kings 19:9)
Elijah had been observing his own 40-day fast, after an extraordinary triumph over 450 false prophets. But his fasting had turned into a “pity-party.” He grumbled that no-one else in all Israel shared his spiritual resolve and depth of faith. He’d just as soon die as go on. And God asks “What’s up?”
It’s easy in a season of special spiritual devotion to feel heroic. Or to feel alone. Never mind what happened last week or last month or last year. We can too easily place ourselves on pedestals, and sometimes slip into spiritual grumpiness.
In Elijah’s case, the Lord visited him and gave him the spiritual equivalent of a slap up the side of the head. He told Elijah that 7,000 others in Israel—seven THOUSAND—were just as faithful. (1 Kings 19:18; Romans 11:4) They had not compromised their faith or bowed their knees to Baal. “Elijah, stop your carry-on!”
You may be observing Lent alone. Your family, church, or friends may have little interest. And it can feel both heroic and lonely—even after barely a week. Resist the temptation to criticize others (even in your heart). Be assured that there are many thousands—hundreds of thousands—around the world who share your resolve.
And we fast not for ourselves or for each other, but for the audience of One—Christ Himself.
Lord Jesus, receive this gift of fasting from me today not as a sign of my greatness but as a symbol of my need. All glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. Amen.