I think a LOT, but I don’t ever really catch myself thinking about where my next breath is coming from. It’s just a natural occurrence. I don’t concentrate too hard on the levels of oxygen in the atmosphere that enter my body in order to sustain my life. I don’t ponder the process of inhaling and exhaling, the ozone layer, the way oxygen is deprived from water and plants. I don’t consider the perfect amount of plants and water, hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon dioxide it takes to preserve all of mankind, but God knows.
Genesis 1:1-2 (NIV) – In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
I never thought about any of it, until it was gone. I’ll never forget the days leading up to my walking across the threshold of Jacob’s Well Ministries. As I stepped from one porch to another in the ghetto of Hattiesburg, MS, as was my custom, I found myself unable to breathe. I fell to the ground from an overdose and as my last breath was leaving my body, I was completely aware of the sin that had robbed me of my life. I was acutely attuned to the choices I had made which led me to the place where I lay. I had chosen to live my life as I pleased and I had completely forgotten how I came to the earth and that I was just passing through.
Psalm 39:12 (TLB) – Hear my prayer, O Lord; listen to my cry! Don’t sit back, unmindful of my tears. For I am your guest. I am a traveler passing through the earth, as all my fathers were.
Ecclesiastes 11:5 (NIV) – As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things.
As I lied there in the middle of the road, I wondered… “Who really made the heavens and the earth to sustain me? Who breathed life into me and is now taking it away?” I was so engrossed in sin which had once promised freedom from listening to what anyone was trying to tell me to do but had eventually led to complete bondage. I found myself dying in the middle of the road, no more breath to speak of. I had drawn a blank on the concept of trusting and obeying. I had come to the notion that I could do a better job deciding my own boundaries than God could. When I found myself miraculously walking down the street again, I was fearful of looking behind me, afraid that I would see my own lifeless body lying in the road. I knew there was no reason for me to be alive…BUT GOD. I had to immediately cultivate a trust in a God I barely knew and could not see or touch because as I walked, I took a deep breath into my lungs and kept my heart beating until I could allow Jesus into it so He could then sustain me. I had to choose life over death, blessings over curses. Today, my heart beats only for Him, He is the air I breathe, He is the love I feel, and His Holy Presence moves me from strength to strength and glory to glory, even through the valleys. I had to die in order to find life in Him and Him alone.
Take a deep breath; acknowledge where it comes from. Breathe life in and be grateful!