Difficulties During Long Fasts: A Testimony (Paul Foka)
“I had at first been enrolled among other brethren who were to fast for twenty-one days. I later changed my mind and registered to fast for forty days because of my commitment to Brother Zach, and also because I thought to myself that this could be the only opportunity to fast that the Lord was offering us. Quite frankly, I was counting on the Lord, for until then my longest fast had been for seven days.
I was also deeply motivated by another fact: I had just resigned from my job in order to devote myself entirely to the task that God had given me, while trusting God only, to meet my material needs and those of my family. I therefore, decided to spend the first thirty days of the fast on what I call the final ‘implantation’ of the Bible Correspondence Course. The first thirty days went by without much pain, except on the twenty-eighth day when my heart hurt and I felt like I was choking. This is what I wrote down on my card on the twenty-ninth day, August 1987:
Each physical pain, each difficulty experienced at the material plane corresponds to a difficulty experienced in the invisible realm. The Lord told me this last night. Yesterday evening my heart was so weak, my breath so difficult that I wondered whether I would make it to the end; yet I felt deep down that the fast was not yet over. Before I lay down, I implored the Lord to grant me the grace to go through to the end. My inner man, meanwhile, was full of gratitude to the Lord for what He had done thus far. When the Lord granted me this revelation last night, He strengthened me at the same time and confirmed that it was not yet the end of the battle, and that if I broke off the fast before the settled forty days, the thing would not be of Him. Father, I will not stop it before the end. I will go right to the end. All the power of hell will not force me to call it off, because Christ has conquered and has included me in His victory. I know it, I believe it. May Brother Zach be also thus minded, as well as those who are engaged in this same conflict with You and with us.
Glory be to Your name. Amen.”
After the thirtieth day, infernal suffering began. I experienced the first agony at dawn on the thirty-third day. I experienced the second agony during the nights of the thirty-fourth to the thirty-fifth day. This is what I wrote in my diary on 16 August 1987:
“The fight was particularly difficult yesterday evening, especially during the night when I felt I was going to die, the same feeling I had on the thirty-third day. This morning, my sufferings are continuing with my body revolting against everything. I thought I ought to call off the fast, but God made no provision with which to break it. I sent Blacky to visit Brother Zach to enquire about his state. He came back and said, ‘He is suffering terribly (abdominal pains and heaviness in the head) but he is pressing on.’ Then I said to myself, ‘Therefore I, too, will continue, although my body has given up. God will sustain me. I believe it. I remember that He had told me that if I gave up before the end, the thing would not be of Him: I am not going to disappoint Him.’
I must confess that I was profoundly humbled in the last week of the fast. I wrote in my diary on 13 August 1987:
‘I have almost reached the end of my natural limits. From morrow onwards I will reach the stage in which divine intervention becomes absolutely indispensable.’ I wrote this because I was feeling the symptoms of anaemia on my legs. I had earlier sworn to my wife in the days when I was full of vigour that I would never urinate in a chamber pot. During the last three days of the fast, I could no longer leave my room. During these three days I urinated in a can that was emptied by my dear wife. She also bathed me in my room during this period. On the thirty-ninth day, my body started becoming cold, beginning with my feet. But I was full of joy in my spirit, and I interceded until the Lord asked me to stop, for I was wearing myself out. Then I told Him I would like to see the fortieth day being ushered in. I went to bed, and near dawn the Lord woke me up and I clapped for the Lord Jesus as He crossed the finish line on the fortieth day, as the Head of the wonderful team called the Church. I was so joyful that I said to the Lord, ‘I am waiting for the next opportunity.’ It is true I suffered a lot. But this suffering cannot be compared to what I have received from the Lord; so much did I receive that I came out of the fast with one major prayer topic, that the Lord should protect my life, because I was aware that I was the target of the Enemy as a result of some secrets of warfare revealed to me by my heavenly Father. May His name be blessed from everlasting to everlasting, and may all glory and honour be given to Jesus Christ, His Son.
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