Psalm 46:10a – Be still, and know that I am God. (NIV)
I have noticed over the years, as I used this Scripture to bring myself still, that sometimes I would become attentive to my breathing. During one of those times in meditation, I remembered this verse:
Genesis 2:7 – 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)
Four years ago, I began teaching classes in first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) skills. Many times, I marvelled at the wonder of breath. The Lord God breathed the breath of life into the first man, and he became a living being in response! Artificial respiration as part of CPR mimics our Creator.
In my reading last fall in The Naked Now by Richard Rohr, I discovered a bit of scholarship about the Hebrew name of God that we see translated in our English Bibles as "Lord". The word "Lord", printed with all capitals in most English Bibles, is the translation of the Hebrew word YHWH, which occurs more than 6000 times in the Old Testament. We would now spell and pronounce the word as "Yahweh", or as sometimes translated into English, "Jehovah". Rohr asserts that in ancient times, the name YHWH was not spoken but breathed! The letters were written in an attempt to replicate and imitate the very sound of inhalation and exhalation. God's Old Testament Hebrew name, "Lord", represents a single breath and recognizes the source of life!
Here is another significant Scripture about breathing:
John 20:21-22 – Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you." And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit." (NIV)
God the Creator breathed life into humankind. Jesus told His followers that He was sending them as the Father had sent Him, then He breathed on them so that they could receive the Holy Spirit, the Comforter and Counsellor, from His Father.
So what have I done with this huge, airy, invisible idea? When I feel troubled, alone, betrayed, helpless, upset, or overwhelmed, I call His name — Lord — or just inhale and sigh. In the process, I become still, and I can quietly wait on Him. After a bit, I feel His presence, peace, joy, and love. I may take a few more breaths, then ask for wisdom and God's direction to go forward. Soon, I understand how I can live in the face of that particular pressure. Do you think you might try it sometime?
Our God is as real as the air we breathe. Every breath we take throughout life happens because of His creative and sustaining will. Each time we become aware of our breathing, could we give a moment of thanks and worship to the source of life?
Prayer: Abba, Father! How marvellous and astounding are Your works and ways. We ask, in the name of Christ Jesus our Saviour, to go with His peace as He sent us, and to continue as Christ's followers, loving as You love, living and breathing in Your creation. Amen.
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