Thursday, January 31, 2013

A Birthday Fast

I was reading again in the Diary of David Brainerd, and I found this entry for April 20, 1743:

Set apart this day for fasting and prayer, to bow my soul before God for the bestowment of divine grace; especially that all my spiritual afflictions, and inward distresses, might be sanctified to my soul.  And endeavored also to remember the goodness of God to me the year past, this day being my birthday.  Having obtained help of God, I have hitherto lived, and am now arrived at the age of twenty-five years.  My soul was pained to think of my barrenness and deadness; that I have lived so little to the glory of the eternal God.  I spent the day in the woods alone, and there poured out my complaint to God.  O that God would enable me to live to his glory for the future!
Most of us prefer a birthday feast, not a fast!  But it was quite consistent with the temperament and holy aspirations of David Brainerd to spend his birthday fasting.  The greatest birthday gift Brainerd could ever have hoped and prayed for was a closer walk with God.  Is that our greatest desire?  Is that our birthday wish when we blow out the candles?

Brainerd would live only four more years, but he would see at least 130 of his beloved Indians come to faith in Christ, and his diary would travel the globe and influence countless Christians for the service of the Lord.  Among those greatly moved by the life and writings of Brainerd were the missionary Henry Martyn and the godly Scottish pastor, Robert Murray M'Cheyne.

Brainerd has also had a profound effect on my life, especially in times of deepest distress.  I am greatly comforted to know that the godly David Brainerd suffered spiritual struggles much like mine, and that God brought him through and used him greatly. 

Lord, renew my resolve to serve You with single-hearted devotion.  Amen.

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