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Friday, November 4, 2011

When You Can't Fast

[Readers - This question was posted on the Facebook Discussion Board in July.  I thought some of you who might like to read it may have missed it so, with this Sunday being Fast Sunday, so it's reposted here.  Best to you all, - Bro Jo]

Bro Jo,

Question, not about dating, but about the church.

I haven't been able to fast since I was 9, due to a health problem. We thought it was going to get better eventually, but we just found out that I really never, ever, ever will be able to fast or even attempt to fast. I feel really sad about it. I feel like I'm missing out on an important part of spiritual growth - and that I ought to be giving something to the Lord at least once a month. Do you (or anyone else) have any ideas on what I could do to make up for not being able to miss meals?

- CJ

Dear CJ,

Fasting accomplishes two things: it puts of "the natural man", showing our control over "appetites and desires" and it demonstrates obedience to the will of God. Heavenly Father wants to bless us, but like a spoiled child, if we're given everything without work or sacrifice then we don't have the same level of appreciation for it.

Little children, pregnant women, and those with serious medical conditions are not expected to fast. Of course, in the Church, no one is REQUIRED to fast.

Not knowing anyone's personal medical issues, and not needing to know, I'd suggest that you focus on the principles and doctrines of fasting as outlined. Perhaps instead of fasting 24 hours a shorter period of time would work. Consider removing certain favorite foods (particularly the sweets or other junk food) from your diet for a length of time.

You may also want to sacrifice your time. Don't just give up reading or TV or your computer, but spend that time doing a "random act of service".

And don't forget about Fast Offerings, the other component of LDS monthly fasting. While you can't fast, you could still give a generous fast offering, which would meet the components of sacrifice and obedience, as well as help someone in need.

- Bro Jo

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