In his book, "Hunger for God," John Piper suggests that the spiritual discipline of fasting allows us to acknowledge our true hunger for the Divine ~ for God. By setting aside the comforting anesthetic of food, by engaging in a degree of physical discomfort (that leads to emotional discomfort), we permit ourselves to address our deepest longing: The longing for restoration with God.
When we deny ourselves food, he says, we are forced to ask, "Do I really hunger for God? Do I miss Him?"
Do I miss Him?
We spend our everday actively working to silence the need, sorrow, anger, and longing for purpose that powerfully threatens to overwhelm us in our materialistic and relationally bankrupt culture. Alcohol, cigarettes, prescription (and non) drugs, work, affairs, and such: Television is my own most effective soother, but food is it's comforting companion. By assuring myself of their mind-numbing, emotion-squelching constancy I can surely navigate a day's dis-ease.
By choosing to set them aside, I might find myself nose-to-nose with the desperate realization that I miss Him. I miss His sanctity and justice. I miss His clarity and hope. I miss His goodness. I miss things about Him that I've never known: the touch of His hand, the look of His eye, the cut of His jaw.
I miss Him. We miss Him, don't we? I wonder at the opportunity to set aside the good things of our lives long enough to be reminded that He is Goodness itself. The bounty that we know here is a shadow, a dim reflection of the substance and Glory of God Himself.