The summers I would visit my father at his care home, we sat outside on the enclosed patio decorated with hanging flower pots and garden chimes. Sometimes the smell of fried chicken would float our way from the fast food restaurant across the street. But my dad preferred donuts and coffee over chicken and french fries, so we sipped our coffee out of paper cups and wiped our sticky fingers on white napkins, as we commented on the going-ons in our world that day.
Often lounging with us were residents with oxygen tanks keeping their breathing at levels to live. Their life depended on breathing in the correct amount of CO2 from a metal cylinder linked to a tube in their nose. I remember breathing in deeply, thankful for this breath of life still free from needing assistance.
Breath is the Gift of Life
For without breath there is no life. God brought our lifeless bodies to life with His breath. Breath is not something we give to ourselves.
Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. Genesis 2:7
My father was father to 5 children, a husband for 60 years, a construction supervisor for his working life, a welcome presence for the librarians at his local library, and much more. He also attended church faithfully, in the latter years with his eyesight lost, sitting in the front pew where the priest walked to him to serve communion. These events, these life memories were in his eulogy that I wrote and spoke, his achievements so to speak, but what I failed to say is that his breath of life was the most valuable gift to us all. His presence more worthy than any $50 bill he tucked in our palms.
Our Worth is from God
No achievement or lack of achievement can determine our worth. For it is God that blew His breath into us. It is God that provides us life, and provides us all that we need to live out our time until He takes our breath away and we return to dust.
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
When you take away their breath,
They die and return to dust.
Bringing Ourselves to God
Physically we may need a instrument such as an oxygen tank to keep us breathing but we depend on God for life. As my days progress, worries and fears makes me gasp or take short breaths until I remember WHO is the ONE who breaths life in me.
Recently I learned a breathing exercise to bring my whole self back to God in moments of tension between what I see and who He is.
Breathe in “Yah”. Breathe out “weh”
Yahweh. “I AM WHO I AM.” (Exodus 3: 14)
Intentionally taking in God with breaths of surrender, my body releases tension and my mind fills with ease. Each breath is a reminder of God’s unchanging nature, and faithfulness to His promises.
Our dependance is on God who gave us the gift of life and wants the best for us.
The Lord took my father’s breath away many years ago now, but memories from the gifts of his presence lives on, including whenever I smell fried chicken and french fries.
May we know God’s presence with us with every breath we take. Will you take in the life giving breath of “Yahweh” today?