I sit and watch location after location flood in:
- • Irvine, California
- • Lakeland, Florida
- • Hurricane, Utah
- • Barreiro, Setúbal, Portugal
And that's just a few. In one minute, there are over 30 replies to a single post asking where people are commenting from.
On Monday, I was invited to join a Facebook group called “Worldwide Fast April 10.” The group, created in response to President Russell M. Nelson’s invitation during the Saturday evening session of general conference, has added over 234,000 members in less than 72 hours.
"For all whose health may permit, let us fast, pray, and unite our faith once again. Let us prayerfully plead for relief from this global pandemic," President Nelson said. "I invite all, including those not of our faith, to fast and pray on Good Friday, April 10th, that the present pandemic may be controlled, caregivers protected, the economy strengthened, and life normalized."
Posts on the Facebook page come in so quickly, it is nearly impossible to keep up. As I try to do so, I become overwhelmed with emotion.
I scroll through the posts: an Egyptian member of the Coptic church says he plans to fast, a pagan says he is unable to fast but will offer his prayers and support, a Messianic Jew says she is extremely excited to fast with us, a Hindu says they will also join in the fast. On Tuesday morning, over 30 different religions were represented by people asking to join their faith with ours.
Others share their own witnesses of fasting and the power associated with it—countless stories of healing and witnesses of the power of God’s love. One woman testifies of the power of fasting despite a fast that did not save her daughter’s life, and emphasizes that fasting allows us to align our will with a God who knows best.
And then there are disaffected members of our faith who are finding a place to belong on this page. People who previously felt it would be impossible in their circumstance to be met with love are being overwhelmed by the welcome they have received. They are assured that their offering—their desire to give a piece of their heart—is enough. This invitation to fast is an invitation to come as you are, to “come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
I wonder if President Nelson knew—could he have imagined something quite like this when he asked us to fast? Regardless, I agree with a comment I read last night that perhaps the miracles of this fast are already happening. Maybe they are happening on a simple Facebook group.
It is my belief that this is only the beginning. Although socially isolated, we are currently witnessing a massive gathering of people who are willing to “cheerfully do all things that lie in our power.”
You know the rest of the scripture: “Then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed” (Doctrine and Covenants 123:17).
This Friday, I believe that if we stand very still with complete confidence, we will see the arm of a living God.