Miscellaneous: Fasting Related Medical Problems

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-- © GodSpeak International 1998 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from <ts@godspeak.org> --

Medical Problems related to fasting (Apr 1997)

The very first time the Lord called me to a 40-days fast, I was having a health problem and was afraid to fast at all, much less for a long period of time. At that time, He told me "If what I called you to were to kill you, would that be any excuse to not obey Me?" So, with fear and trepidation, I stared the fast. And the Lord healed me of the health problem during that fast. That was about 2 years ago. Since then He has called me to many short and medium duration fasts and an occasional long one. I have fasted many times and have never experieced any physical or health problems related to fasting.

But this last fast was different. I started a 21 day fast on Feb 17. It was to pray for revival for my nation. It was not a particulary hard fast, as I could have juice and a little bit of non-fat milk. I completed that fast. But did not experience the intimacy with the Lord that I am used to or the clarity of hearing His voice that normally comes from a medium-duration fast. So I prayed and sought Him about it. To my surprise, He called me to another fast 12 days later. This fast was a water-only fast. It was also an intimacy fast... I was not seeking Him for anything in particular, I was just seeking Him. All of the sudden, the spirit world seemed to open up to me. I could hear His voice ever so clearly. I was seeing a level of power and anointing that have always wished I could experience... that week almost everyone I prayed for regarding physical healing was miraculously healed ... even some "big ticket items" like arthritus (where we could actually observe the swelling in the joints going down as we prayed) and a broken toe that was healed. And I was hearing in the prophetic and words of knowledge with a greater clarity and accuracy than before. And even better, I was enjoying an incredible place of intimacy with the Lord and was basking in His presesnse.

Then, on the evening of Good Friday (day 8 of this intimacy fast), something horrible happened to me. I won't go into the details, but I was abused by someone I thought I could trust and it really threw me for a loop. I sorta got mad at God for letting this happen and then felt guilty for being mad with God and I wondered if He was mad at me for my response. In my head, I know that the Lord forgives us freely because of the blood of Jesus. But the enemy was whispering words of condemnation to me and I began to believe them. This sort of crippled my intimacy with God. I did not even go to church on Easter sunday, but spent most of the day crying out to Him.

And I'd been having weird physical problems since about Good Friday as well... I would get out of breath doing simple things (like walking up a staircase) and my heart would race for about 10 minutes. I was also having all sorts of weird muscle twitching (or mild muscle spasms) in my legs and arms. On Monday (the day after Easter and day 10 of my water-only fast), I walked (not ran) up a flight of stairs to a BART platform. (BART is the Bay Area's Rapid Transit system, a sort hybred of a subway and a monterrail.) I ended up almost passing out on the platform and having a bunch of chest pain in addition to a racing heart that took over 20 minutes to calm down. That scared me and I broke my fast that afternoon.

That night I decided to go to be early, around 6:30 PM. I climbed up the stairs to my bedroom and had another attack. My heart started racing something terrible and I could not seem to catch my breath. I laid in bed and wondered when my body would get back to normal. An hour passed and I still could not catch my breath or clam down my heart. So I called the doctor who told me to go to the emergency room a the hospitial. When I got out of bed to get ready to go to the hospital, I started having some more chest pain as well. I remembered being a bit scared and asking God if I was going to die. He said "No," I was not going to die.

My husband drove me to the hospital. The emergency room staff treated me as a heart attack and took me in right away. I was put on oxygen, which helped me to get my breath back. They ran all sorts of tests and put me on some very fancy monitoring equipment. They eventually decided that I had an electrolyte imbalance (probably caused by the fasting) and that some chemicals I needed to regulate my heart rate were missing, which was why it would not regulate -- In fact it was beating so fast that it was hardly pumping blood at all. The doctors thought it was due to a shortage of Potassium and Magnisium. I recieved all sorts of medication -- intervenously, orally and by shots. I was in the emergency room for about 7 hours and the ER doctor stopped by one three separate occasions to tell me that I almost died, but that he did not think there was perminate muscle damage to my heart. I was given all sorts of prescription medication and finally sent home.

For a while, I was practically living at my doctor's office and felt like a blood doner for all the blood tests they did. My magnisium and potassium levels returned to a safe level, but my symptoms persisted. The problem more than just fasting induced electrolyte imbalance, but we weren't sure exactly what it was. More tests. Then I went to a Randy Clark sponsored conference in Kentucky. I had a few incidencts while I was there where little things (like walking a block) made my heart race and it would take a long time to calm down.

Then, during worship on Thursday night, the Holy Spirit really fell on me. I began jumping up and down (not my normal style) in response to His presense and to this sense of worship that was welling up inside of me. I did this for over 5 minuts and then became aware of my heart racing. I was afraid I was going to have another attack, but the Lord spoke to me. He said, "No, Teresa. I have healed you. It is normal for a person's heart to beat fast after they've been doing arobic activity for a while... that is the way I made you. But it will slow down correctly now when you stop jumping." I stopped jumping and my heart slowed right back down. Just then the worship leader, Gary Shelton, begin singing a prophetic song "heart rate... heart rate... let this be our heart rate". He sang it serveral times and the Lord again told me He'd healed me and asked me to try it out. So I did. I danced, I jumped, I leaped.... and no more chest pain or wildly racing heart. He healed me. I told a friend, who brough me up to tell Randy, who asked me to share it with everyone there. So there was a short break in worship so I could give my testimony. Then back to worship. A song or two later, Randy got up and said that God wanted to sovereignly heal others during worship... and 24 people were healed during the next song!

Since then, the Lord has drawn me back into a place of intimacy with Him and has comforted my heart regarding the abuse that drew me out of intimacy with Him in the first place. I know that it is not uncommon to have severe spiritual attacks when you're on a fast -- the devil came and visited Jesus personally when He was on His long fast. I don't know why the Lord allowed me to almost die, but I do know He guarded my life and helped me to get my heart right with Him again -- both physically and emotionally.

Will I fast again if God calles me to do so? Absolutely. Will I fast just because a group of folks are fasting/praying and God has not quickened it to my heart to fast with them. Absolutely not. I don't want to fast simply for fasting's sake... but I do want my heart to be yeilded to His will and I want to obey Him whatever He commands me to do.

Some of my friends have suggested that maybe the Lord never called me to that second fast and it was a stupid health risk on my part. I prayed about it and asked God. He said that it was not the case.. that He had in fact called me to the second fast. God went on to say that He does not promise protection from spiritual attack or even from physical problems when He comamnds us to fast (See Hebrews 11:32-40 if this thought seems unscriptual to you). But He does promise to be Lord of our lives and to work in all things to bring His glory. And He has brought His glory into my situation. In fact, I got to share Jesus with two people because of my healing that would have never been willing to hear about Him if I'd not been healed.

I don't have a conclusion or fancy summary. Just be aware that God has not guarenteed us protection from problems or attacks of the enemy. We don't obey Him because we expect Him to take care of us and keep us safe from harm. We obey Him because we love Him. Sometimes the Lord allows the attack to come, but He is faithful to always work in all things to bring His glory (Romans 8:28).

-- © GodSpeak International 1998 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from <ts@godspeak.org> --

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