Oh the weather outside is frightful… It’s cold and windy with snow blowing all around, and yet my mind drifts back to the days of summer. Ahhh – the warmth, the breeze, the yard work. Yep, yard work. My husband and I purchased a home a few years ago and I have fallen in love with landscaping and yard work. Call me crazy, but I am already mapping out my garden for spring and deciding which new plants to add to our landscape.

This past summer, I decided to trim a hedge out front. The entire project should have taken me twenty minutes max. I was almost to the end when as I was trimming small tiny objects started flying towards my face. At first I assumed it was the clippings from the hedge but then realized I was being attacked by a swarm of paper wasps. I dropped my hedge trimmer and took off running as fast as I could. The wasps continued attacking the hedge trimmer and I stood breathless at the end of my yard only to turn around and see someone watching me across the street. Great. An audience for my screaming and flailing of the arms. I blamed it on the wasps, but I don’t think she quite believed me.

They continued to attack anything within five feet of their nest for the next few days, which was quite inconvenient considering this hedge is 3 feet from my front door. I had to run out the back and stop the mail person from being accosted by the wasps. She was very grateful. Then one night after sun down when the wasps were quiet and docile my husband doused them with two cans of Wasp Killer. The next morning he cut the nest out of the hedge and it was HUGE! You see we had gone most of the summer not even knowing that nest was there. We had walked up to our front door hundreds of times and they didn’t bother us one bit until I got close to their nest.

These past few weeks of fasting have reminded me of this wasp nest I found in my yard; it’s amazing, how we can go about our life and think we have handled and worked through so many things with God until we begin to fast. Fasting brings to the surface our complete need and dependence on God, the impurities in our lives. I have come face to face with my own selfishness these past weeks. God in His mercy has exposed in my heart where I am seeking praise and approval of others instead of Him, or looking to others for guidance first before seeking His guidance. How simple it all sounds, but sometimes like a wasp nest under the hedge it can go unnoticed until it is unearthed by the denial of self through fasting.

Proverbs 17:3 tells us, “Fire tests the purity of silver and gold, but the Lord tests the heart.”

This fast has been a much needed purifier in me, helping me to see the things I need to turn over to God, the selfishness and pride that have laid in my heart and given me a refreshed perspective of His long arm of patience and grace that puts up with me and all my “wasps”.

As we corporately fast together let us continue to allow God to refine us from those hidden things that we did not know where there. Let us be grateful for His mercy and grace that exposes these things and patiently leads and guides us closer to Him.

Romans 2:4 “Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that His kindness is intended to  turn you away from sin?