Fasting for me ends up looking more like hostage negotiations. I fasted sweets once, and my fast did not include Chocolate milk. I did a liquid fast in college and drank milkshakes several times during it. In high school we fasted one day and our pastor told us we could have anything that fit through a straw, so my friends Angelo and Gabe tried to blend donuts.
Where is the Spirit in all of it!? *pulls out hair while mentally making a list of where to get milkshakes and where not to get donuts the next time I fast*
Let’s get to the meat and potatoes of this section. Did you get a chill when you read meat and potatoes?
If so, it was either the Holy Spirit or you are very hungry which is odd because we are only 2 pages in, and I told you to grab a snack in the intro, and even though this is not a self-help book, I’m not here just throwing out blind suggestions (I am throwing out or keeping run- on sentences). Regardless, you have autonomy to choose to read this chapter without a snack. I don’t understand you for it, but you have permission.
Back to my point meat and potatoes. I almost got a chill typing it; then I somewhat leaned into it and felt a small tingle on my neck. Some people when they read or hear meat and potatoes, there is no register. Some people didn’t hear/read salad, so they are indifferent. Some people were waiting for the addition of cheese, and the chill did not come.
The why behind whether or not we got a chill or the Spirit is an indication of what might in fact be going on.
One hypothetical way to account for the chill: If we were in Ireland during the Mid 1800’s and someone said meat and potatoes and presented people with a plate of it, I could safely assume a chill or even tears would sweep over the population. When 1 million people die of mass starvation, the call and provision for meat and potatoes would provide a savory life source and in turn be received as a good thing, even a miraculous thing. (Not sure why the author chose to use such a sad example in a book with this tone but let’s keep going)
When food is a life sustaining provision and received as such, it takes on a different importance than when there is easy access.
When our access is difficult or seemingly impossible, the provision of something is more easily received as a gift. In 2009 I traveled to Russia and Dr. Pepper was not accessible and a rare commodity so I was asked to stow a 6 pack in my luggage. There was celebration in the streets (not quite). While there, I vaguely remember them trying to curate their own Root Beer.
When we previously had access to and remember the taste we associate with something, we try to get that back because our memory says we enjoyed it.
Here’s a tangential theological thought: Taste and see that the Lord is good.
Similarly, God was confident to presume that if we experienced His goodness, taste of His heavenly gift and share of His Spirit (Hebrews 6:4) that we would not willingly fall away or abandon permanently, our pursuit of God. We would not choose to forget God’s pursuit of us.
Now what of things that we lose taste for? I have eaten Taco Bell for about 20 years. It is easily the food I have eaten more than any other. And if I’m being honest, I don’t even like Taco Bell anymore from a taste perspective. I never go and desire the food. It is quick, open late, and I know it won’t taste bad or make me sick because I have developed a familiarity with their ingredients. My body is well acclimated with Taco Bell, but my taste buds get no excitement or exhilaration. I am simply banking on nostalgia and history and the reminder that me and Taco Bell have hosted many good memories together. Just because Taco Bell is steady, does not make it good nor does it mean Taco Bell has my best interest in mind. In fact one can argue that I am codependent on Taco Bell and Taco Bell has no need for me. It would exist without me. Would I exist without it?
The answer to that is also yes. I would exist independently of Taco Bell and my joy and happiness is no longer dependent on it. Our relationship is historical and occasionally we run into each other when better options are lacking. This is scarcely a human’s relationship to the Holy Spirit or to chills.
*This is an excerpt from a project called Holy Ghost and Chill: Discerning the Difference Between Chills and the Holy Spirit and Perhaps Giving Up Trying. It’s a working title. *Shrug*