Stories when_yahweh_shows_up

Published on August 11th, 2013 | by Hannah Rivard

When Yahweh Shows Up

People don’t talk about fasting anymore.

Sure, some go off Facebook for a week, call it a “Facebook fast” (ironically announcing it on their status), and leave it at that. However, few people practice fasting as instructed in Scripture: total abstinence from some or all food often for an extended period of time.

So I wanted to do it

We often avoid fasting based on fear. Fear of discomfort, of explaining what you’re doing to others, of being radical, of “doing hard things,” as the Rebelution says. But I didn’t want to avoid fasting just because it was hard; if it was hard, I wanted to do it.

Those are the types of things that change you.

When All is Stripped Away

Although familiar with short fasts before, I had never attempted an extended one, but when I asked Yahweh about it, I received strong confirmation it was His desire for me. I thought I knew something of what to expect, but what I found is sometimes you don’t anticipate how Yahweh will show up.

This is the great adventure.

For awhile, there was much I was praying for during the fast.

The greatest transformation was something I never expected, never thought to ask for, and yet clearly was what Jesus was after in compelling me to go on this fast.

I attribute the change directly to the fast: It is difficult to state how much change you go through when you give up that which gave you so much energy and joy, timekeeping and social interaction, stress relief and distraction.

Without food, much in your life changes, because much is stripped away.

The 13-Day Change

When I’d originally asked Jesus how long He wanted me to fast, He said 13 days. Already before the 13 days had come, I’d undergone a dramatic change in my life and career plans; I’d reached the breaking point, finally finding the courage to say I was not content with where my life was going despite all I’d done to get where I was.

But there was still unrelenting, churning frustration in me in what to do with that realization, and on day 13, it burst out in my journal:

Jesus, I want to change the world. I’m going to change the world.

Lead me into that.

Help me to hold onto that feeling, that endless willingness, that fire, that drive. The feeling of Lord of the Rings, of epic story, that is less sometimes about what exactly you’re doing but about what story you’re in and what part you’re playing. And never backing down, never backing off.

I’m leaving horses, Jesus. I’m leaving social justice. I’m leaving ministry.

And I’m entering kingdom. I’m entering battle and beauty… I will let my life make no sense. I will live on the edge and be flat broke and smuggle Bibles and break laws and be scandalous.

Lead me into that tonight—today—tomorrow—for the rest of my life.

Let me speak like that, live like that, no matter who I am around.

If you need to free me from horses, do it. From family, safety, comfort, money, do it. Do anything to me, with me, in me, Jesus. Shatter my life and make it new.

And the next day, everything changed.

Suffice it to say within 12 hours I not only lost part of my health for the summer, but my entire career plans for the next year took a complete 180-degree shift due to a freak, “impossible” accident involving one of my horses who was crucial to my business.

After day 13 of the fast, I was completely free for a radical life change—mentally and spiritually because of the fast, and now in reality because of these two separate “accidents.”

And I was thrilled.

Jesus was taking it all from me, and it was beautiful. I continued the fast for various reasons, and the very last day, I cried out to Him for His call on my life, for my next step, and He gave it faithfully through Isaiah 58. Not a day too soon, and not a day too late.

When Yahweh Shows Up

My fast had changed everything. Where I was going, what I was doing, how I spent my days, how I saw my life, and it was so much closer to the life I longed for.

So now I turn this to you: look unflinchingly at Scripture and the Lord’s words. What do you see? I saw fasting, and knew I needed to follow that call; when I did, it changed everything. What about you? What if you set aside your fear, old habits, or love of comfort and let Him rewrite your story?

What is Yahweh calling you to?

Ask, and then be ready.

Anything can happen when Yahweh shows up.


About the Author

Hannah Rivard is an actress, horse trainer, and writer, and, while originally raised in rural Minnesota alongside killer roosters and attack cats, she now travels extensively as the Lord shapes her life through her passion for social justice, intimacy with Christ, and the abundant life He promises. One of Hannah’s greatest desires is to see people set free from whatever holds them captive into the radical beauty, adventure, danger, and glory of the kingdom of God—the life they always longed to live.

  • Christopher Witmer

    Excellent exhortation, Hannah! I too was recently blessed by my first extended fast. I wish I had done it sooner! It is always encouraging to see others pursue God in this way as well. There is nothing like giving something up for someone and focusing your attention on them.


    • Thank you, Christopher. Fasting of all types (certain foods, all food, activities, and yes, even Facebook! :) ) has proven to be so powerful in my life — I, too, which I had started long ago. It gives so much freedom, like you say, to focus on others and enter even more deeply into the heart of Christ.

  • Emily

    Wow! So powerful and encouraging. Thank you so much for sharing, Hannah. Praise God for the transformation in your life- may you follow it wholeheartedly.
    I am curious, though: your bio says that you still “do” the things you wrote about leaving. Is this still the case?

    • Hi Emily! And yes, my bio probably is going to need some editing in the near future. :) It’s still mostly true because I do act and train horses for fun, but that’s just it — now it’s for fun and on Yahweh’s schedule instead of me forcing it to be my job/”successful” business/main source of income. It’s still developing what my new role in the kingdom is going to be, and then when that happens, my bio will get an edit. 😉

      • Emily

        Hi Hannah,
        Thank you for the clarification.
        May God bless you as you follow Him wholeheartedly.

  • Maria

    Well written, Hannah!

    • Thank you, Maria. And I love your profile picture. :)

      • Maria


  • Caleb Norman

    Excellent Story! We should all try this…If the Lord leads of course.

    • Absolutely, it’s all about as Yahweh leads — our journey of walking with the Living God.

  • This hit me so hard. I keep seeing Isaiah 58 in sermons, books, bible studies, billboards! I have been going through a lot in my life the past year and although so much of it was good, I was focusing on the wrong things that happened. Now I understand that God is wanting me to change my perspective 180 degrees. I don’t necessarily think He wants me to change what I am doing with my life. He just wants to show me all the good gifts He has given to me. Thank you so much for sharing!

    • Isn’t it amazing how the Lord comes through again and again so faithfully? And you’re right — sometimes He doesn’t ask us to change *what* we’re doing as much as *who* we are when we’re doing it. That, after all, is one of the revolutionary parts of living in the kingdom!

  • Libby

    Thank you so much! Amazing story, I hope I take this seriously and try to see what God wants for me and my life. Thank you again!

    • Thank you! Ask the Lord what the next step is — and take it — even through the fear and uncertainty. The Lord reminded me the other day that bravery isn’t a feeling, it’s a choice. May you be blessed in this new part of your life!

  • Yes, yes, yes. Thank you for sharing, Hannah. I spent several weeks this summer studying “A Hunger for God” by John Piper, centered on fasting. It was so good for me to remember why I fast, but it was especially good for me to see for what I fast.

    God is so much greater than we could ever imagine, so fasting expresses a hunger for a homesickness of heaven. We fast to say, “I want you more than I want _____.” Whatever we put in that blank, He is greater. That’s ultimately the goal of fasting and anything that happens from it – we get more of God.

    • I’ve heard of that book but haven’t read it yet — it’s been recommended to me before and I’m excited to read it. And so true — I’ve found that fasting makes me more of my true self, more in touch with beauty and glory and the life I always longed to life, not “less” because of the hunger. In the end, it’s about beauty, glory, the kingdom, and Jesus…

  • Rach

    Thanks Hannah! So encouraging to hear of your passion and commitment to God. I was wondering, when you say God gave you confirmation to fast for 13 days, how exactly did he speak to you? I’ve been thinking through the whole area of direct guidance from God and am keen for another young person’s thoughts. Thanks!

    • I’ve thought, studied, and prayed a lot about direct/personal revelation from the Lord and would love to chat more about that if you’re interested (feel free to send me an email at [email protected] if you want to talk more!). But to answer your question, I asked Him (mentally/internally) how long to fast, and the instant strong answer that came into my mind was, “13 days.” This happens to me all day, every day as I converse with the Lord, so I knew the feel and sound of His voice, that that was Him.

  • Meagan Spencer

    Wow it’s crazy how I just experienced this same kind of revelation and freedom from what I wanted to do just yesterday. I kept finding myself wondering if I was just going crazy or being too imaginative, but right here God has proven that what he told me is not a mistake. He keeps showing me this over and over and it’s great! Thank you for the story, I needed that confirmation.

    • Megan, that’s awesome! Can you share more about what the Lord gave you freedom into/for?

  • Chelsea Pelayo

    God leaves me in awe of Him. I feel God has put a passion & calling in my life yet my family doesn’t take me seriously. They want me to have a good career… I have the mind of Christ! However, God’s put a desire to have the life described in 2 Corinthians 6: 3-10. I’ve been in a struggle & wasn’t sure on what to do. God lead me here… this is what I must do. Thank you for letting God use you because He is truly reaching out!

    • I love your passion and dedication, Chelsea! I’d love to hear more about what is on your heart — may you be blessed in the kingdom of God.

  • “Don’t be afraid to live the life you’ve always wanted; take chances and
    risks and go for it and be free and love it and remember first and
    foremost to follow God and trust Him with all your heart and to listen
    to Him.” — AMEN, Corine! 😀

  • Connor Janney

    That was powerful, and challenging. It only begs me ask the question why am I not living life in the fullness that I truly desire? Why am I not doing all I can to be with God. To follow God. To love God. I always want to want to love God. But I don’t always want to love God, and I don’t always love God. I guess when it all is boiled away I’m afraid, what will happen if I throw everything aside and seek the almighty God with all that I am. If I let go of everything and latch on to Him for life itself. (Maybe I might actually start living it for a change.) Following God is such a simple concept, but it is not easy to do in life. My brother’s and sister’s please pray for me. God listen’s to prayers, petition God on my behalf, that He give me strength where I lack it, that He give me faith where I lack it, that He give me courage to follow Him recklessly. Because that’s what I want to do. Father give me strength and courage where I lack it. Lord be faithful to complete the work you’ve been working in me for years. God I’m tired of trying to balance my world and bend it to my will. I am so foolish Lord to think I could do a thing without you. Without you I am nothing but dust. I need you now. I’m desperate for your Grace. Set me to run in the right direction, to you. Wherever that takes me. Give me courage to do things like fast and watch. Lord cleanse me from my sin. Break me so you can mold me. Lord I’m done with world, I want you. I need you. Jesus please, I need you. Draw me close to you. May I die to myself each day, so you might live in me to the fullest. Lord Move me. Manifest your spirit in me, make me who I’ve been called to be. Qualify me Lord, because I’m so not qualified. Lord I believe, help my unbelief. Amen. Thanks brothers. God bless and keep us. In Jesus name, Amen.

  • Isaac Raines

    I love this. I have been feeling the same thing for awhile now. And I LOVE Isaiah 58. I have been thinking of doing a fast but I have not had the courage to do so. So thank you for the encouragement.
    And to all you rebelutionaries. I pray you will all consider doing a fast and seek Gods will in your life every day. Let us all go forth and live Isaiah 58.

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