Fasting in an “I Want It Now” Culture


By Mike Cunningham

We live in an ever-growing world of convenience. If you are looking for information or news, just ask Google and you can find the answer NOW. If you need to buy something but want to avoid the crowd at the mall just order it on Amazon and you can have it NOW (almost). If you need to learn how to do something just watch a YouTube video NOW. If you do not have time to grocery shop just have the Blue Apron do all the shopping for you and it will be delivered to your doorstep NOW.

We live in a culture of NOW, not later. A culture of convenience.

Don’t get me wrong. I love technology. I love making life easier. I love solving problems. I love new ideas. I love having things NOW. Waiting for something is not fun. Delayed gratification sounds like gibberish and patience is like a dirty word in the I Want It Now era.

Convenience is not the enemy though. Becoming too dependent on immediacy is the problem. When we get used to having all these things at our fingertips we come to depend on them. We become addicted and needy. I cannot possibly live without my precious. Just ask anyone who has tried to take a break from social media for any length of time.

My young son just recently entered into the I Want It Now era. He wants his newest toy NOW. He wants his food NOW. He wants to go outside and meet new friends NOW. He wants to watch cartoons NOW. His understanding of patience and waiting is very small. As parents, we are trying to teach him that he can go without for a season, or longer if needed, and that everything will be okay if he is patient and depends on us: our love, our wisdom, our vision and our provision. Dependence is not bad unless you are dependent upon the wrong thing.

The 30 Hour Famine encourages us to depend on the right thing. The most important relationship one can have: a relationship with God. We are challenged to give up food for a short period of time so we can raise awareness of world hunger and help meet real needs for kids all over the world. It is a worthy cause for sure, but one of the great by-products of participating is helping students rediscover the beautiful practice of fasting.

In today’s world fasting is a foreign concept. It does not make sense to go without food, water or something you depend on. Why would one want to give up these good things? The answer is simple: giving these good things up causes us to depend on God. Students recognize their need for God and their need to hear his voice. Sometimes life can get so busy and loud that it will drown out the voice of God in our lives and space is needed to reconnect to the source.

Fasting helps us slow down, put our attention on what really matters, receive insight on how to handle life’s difficulties, and give us wisdom on how to make the right choices. We are always looking for ways to solve our problems and make life more convenient. Instead of downloading another time-management app, maybe we should consider fasting.