This month, any number of Christians will be "giving up" something during the season of Lent. The season, kicked off by Ash Wednesday is a 46 day period of time when we acknowledge the sacrifice of our Savior, Jesus Christ and give up that which serves to draw us away from truly dwelling in His presence. Not all Christians observe this more traditional Church Calendar season. However, it does seem an increasing number of Christians even outside of liturgical circles are drawn to it. As we grow closer to Jesus, we understand our great need for Him and as we understand our great need for Him; it is the wisdom of the Holy Spirit that pushes us towards ridding ourselves of that which does not honor our relationship with Him. If observed properly, Lent is not only a time of repentance; but should also be a time of renewal. For we are relinquishing something less than, for something far greater. It is this season that appropriately heralds our Lord's resurrection on Easter!
So why are we discussing Lent and fasting here at FHLA?
Because Lent should not be our sole motivation for fasting, and fasting is not simply letting go. It is also taking hold of love and service towards the needy at all times.
"Is not this the fast that I choose; to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? Then shall your light break forth like the dawn and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the LORD will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, 'Here I am.' If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. "
Isaiah 58: 6-10
Scripture graciously goes on from here, explaining the abundant ways that the Lord will care for His people as they care for the oppressed. Sisters and brothers, the oppressed are near to us. They are the homeless and the would-be homeless. Did you know that former foster youth make up about half of the homeless population, nationwide? Perhaps an even better question is: did you know that you can do something about it?
With God's help, we all can.
Young adults emancipating from foster care are often on the brink of either greatness or despair. And as our nation debates the issues of placement & possessions for those struggling with homelessness we should not only allow our hearts to be stirred but indeed scripture calls us to action. Investing in the life of a young person who lacks the social capital built on the foundations of close family and devoted friends is a proven method for increased success. It is indeed a step towards "loose[ning] the bonds of wickedness" that have already done enough damage.
An investment looks different for each person; which is why we provide a variety of service areas at FHLA.
Can you inspire by coming to speak about your profession or an industry that you are a part of? Can you shoot hoops a few times per month? Can you help a young adult fill out a job application? Can you provide a meal once or twice during an 8 week period? We bet you're qualified for one or even all of those things!
Fasting requires not just giving up but, also taking hold of love and service. How will you do that today? Reach out to us and we're happy to help you decide.
Brandy Wallner serves as the Administrative Assistant & Social Media Coordinator at FHLA. In her role as Social Media Coordinator she creates graphics and writes content for all of our social platforms and is a Contributing Blogger. She lives with her husband in Southern California and is passionate about sharing the Lord's goodness.