Daniel was far from home, taken captive by a powerful king, to be assimilated so Daniel could be of service in his kingdom. Daniel was a young man in a desperate situation with a choice to make. Would he hold onto the spiritual roots of his conquered county or would he conform to make the best of the evil nation that was his new home?
Daniel resolved but he did not rebel. He only spoke up and made a request. But the Lord gave him favor with his captors. And thus the name of the fast, the Daniel Fast. For 40 days, our church has called a fast.
As I reflect on Daniel's plight, aren't we presented with the same choice? As followers of Christ, we find ourselves in a nation filled with evil, children killing children, relative morality, selfish pleasures, pervasive drug use, divisive politics. Even social media platforms, where friends should meet, are contentious and filled with hateful dialog. How can we resolve to not defile ourselves? How can we not conform but be agents of change for good and God's glory? How can we help God's kingdom come to to this evil world that is our home?
And can we do that by eating beans and veggies for 40 days? Seriously?
I guess that is the point. We can't do it at all. Only God can. So we humble ourselves to fast and pray.
As I considered the purpose of my fast, my mind went immediately to my lack of self control. But You, my Beloved Jesus, want me to focus on Your heart and to depend on You for control. I want a stronger relationship with You, but You want to connect even more than I do. I want a spiritual renewal for my daughters and extended family. You, Lord, want a spiritual renewal for me.
In our culture, we avoid hurt and even discomfort at all cost. As I prepare for the fast I feel Jesus saying to me: I died for you, an emotionally and physically excruciating death so that you would not have to die. Are you willing to turn away from what your sinful culture says is good and satisfying and life-giving so you can see that I am good, I am satisfying, and I am life-giving? Are you willing to be uncomfortable and even hurt in order to be closer to Me and to become the woman I always intended you to be?
Yes! Yes! And so I will be eating beans and veggies. I will pray. I will open my heart. Because God is good, Jesus is satisfying, the Holy Spirit is life-giving. As we allow God to change our hearts, one by one by one, He can change the world.
Are you with me?
- In a large pot, saute 2 chopped onions in olive oil.
- Add 2 chopped red peppers, 2 chopped stalks of celery and 4-5 peeled and cut carrots.
- Saute and stir often until the veggies start to wilt.
- Push veggies to the side and make a well in the middle of the pot, add more oil if needed.
- Add 2 cloves of chopped garlic to the center of the pan. Cook about a minute then stir to blend.
- Season with Goya Adobo (or salt is fine), pepper, and cumin (a scant teaspoon)
- Stir well.
- Add 3 cans of black beans and their liquid plus a half can of water.
- Add 8 oz tomato sauce.
- Stir and cook about half hour.
- Taste and correct the seasoning.
- Serve alone or with brown rice.