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Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Breath of Life

Job 12:10~ In His hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind. (NIV 84)
Job 33:4~ The Spirit of God has made me, the breath of the Almighty gives me life. (NIV 84)

Nelson's Illustrated Dictionary of the Bible defines 'breath' as: "air drawn into the body to sustain life. Since breathing is the most obvious sign of life, the phrase breath of life is used frequently in the Bible to mean alive or living."

Stop and think about it. Breathing. It is natural to us; an involuntary reflex. We don't really have to pay that close of attention to breathe, yet we do. It is a precious gift. Unless you have struggled to breathe, it is often a function we take for granted. One that I, even as a nurse, took for granted until recently. We had a scare with my three year old daughter last night-see here for the story.
As a baby, I struggled with breathing problems. Many a night was spent in worry by my parents. Periods of time where I would stop breathing. Those problems plagued me through my teenage years, and then after I got married. Many a night my husband would nudge me so that I would turn over and/or take a deep breath.
Why is this important? Because after last night, I learned a valuable lesson. Rather, I learned more about the very One who gives us breath.

How many times has the Giver of Life allowed me to see that it is He who gives us the very breath we draw?

Years ago I had a dream. I was again a baby in my crib. I was having trouble breathing and turning blue. In this dream, I saw Jesus leaning over my crib  breathing the very breathe of life into my body.

Then, my son became ill in the fall of 2009-that story begins here. There was a period where one of his seizures got so bad that he couldn't breathe. His dad was at work and his three siblings were sleeping.We were in the bathroom and he was leaning against me struggling to breathe during a seizure. I cried out to Jesus, "Please breathe for Him Lord", over and over. He then took a deep breath, and everything was fine. Many times in the hospital, due to the amount of IV medicine they had him on, they threatened to intubate him. The levels were dangerous. The medicine was dangerous. The side effect was respiratory depression. However, even then, the Lord breathed for him.

Last night, it was my three year old daughter. A severe croup attack awoke her at 2:30 a.m. She was struggling so hard to breathe. Her breathing was so rapid that it was very difficult for her to even speak one word. Once again, I grabbed my child and prayed, "Jesus breathe for her like you did for Bryce. Please, breathe for her." As she was being assessed by the paramedic, she was amazed at her vital signs and assessments because she was deeply congested, had a very swollen throat, wheezing and appeared to be struggling for air. Once again, Jesus breathed the breath of life into my child.

The first glimpse we get of breathing in the Bible, comes in Genesis 2:7, speaking of Adam~ "the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being." (NIV 84)
God caused Adam to come alive by His very breath.

In Ezekiel 37, we see the Lord telling him to prophesy over the dead bones. It was God's breath that would bring them to life.

We see something else fascinating happen in John. After the crucifixion, Jesus appears to the disciples. It was with His breath that the disciples received the Holy Spirit. They received the gift of eternal life.
John 20:22~ And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit. (NIV 84)

Many references are made to breath and breathing in the Bible. From creating, to giving life, to God's power, it is all recorded for us.

Breathing has taken on a whole new meaning for me now. Not just because of the struggles to breathe, but because of the importance of this involuntary reflex in the Bible. Because our God created and controls every breath we take.

How does this change how you see breathing? Grab a concordance or look in the back of your Bible. Look up the words: breath, breathed, breathe and breathing. You will be amazed at the number of verses you find. Share one here.

Thank God for every breath that you draw. Thank God that your very life is in His (very capable) hands. It is He who breathes the breath of life in you.

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