He Holds Your Breath
“…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” (Genesis 2:7–NIV).
“Just hold your breath and jump!” The daddy lovingly cheered on his frightened daughter.
“But I’m afraid, Daddy!” She shook–from both excitement and fear–as she stood on the precipice of the rock.
“I promise,” her father comforted. “I’m right here. Hold your breath and jump. Trust me.”
And with that, the girl closed her eyes, held her breath, and leaped.
I’m battling feeling fearful to breathe.
And yet, I’m afraid not to. It’s been one of my biggest fears, in fact. To not breathe.
When our children were younger, I cut their grapes and hotdogs into small bite-sized pieces, hoping to avoid them choking. I’ve battled irrational fear concerning drowning. I feel somewhat claustrophobic when I have to wear a helmet or other facial protective covering. The one time I went scuba diving, for example, I panicked–the headgear created to help me breathe making me feel, instead, like I couldn’t. (Notice I said, “… the one time I went scuba diving.”)
As I watch the news, I see images of many who are suffering from COVID-19–the sick being wheeled on gurneys, many wearing masks; their faces, even their entire heads, covered with an assortment of apparatus that, while I’m sure intended to help, looks more like mayhem to me.
And I sit there feeling like…
I can’t breathe.
Am I alone? Does anyone else sense that suffocating feeling when they think too much about what this ugly virus does? How it affects the lungs–making it, at least for many who suffer the most, difficult to breathe?
And the ensuing fear from just thinking about it makes me feel as though I’m sinking–deeper and deeper in waters where the weight of worry makes me drown. And in those deep waters of anxiety, I’m knocked incapable of being any help to others.
Oh Jesus! How I need Him. Need to know He’s there. Need to know He’s holding me–my every breath. Need to know my every breath belongs to Him–both the in (inhale) and the out (exhale). The in… the out.. In… out.
There. Just fixing my eyes on Him–my Abba Daddy–slows my frantic gasping. I picture His face and feel His presence. My heart slows. My breathing eases. My fears subside.
I can breathe.
We went walking the other day–followed the path down past our farmer friend’s pig patch. Breathed in. Out. Smelled the good country air–a reminder of life, even though the smell of pigs isn’t a personal favorite.
Funny how we’re each grasping for that little bit of normalcy–to find that which was, prior to COVID-19. It settles us somehow–even if it’s simply the smell of pigs.
As we walked, I found I wallowed less in what’s mostly self-imposed fear. We breathed deeply–felt the pull in our lungs as we mindlessly, miraculously exchanged carbon dioxide with oxygen. We didn’t think about it. It was just the way of things–that in and out, in and out, in and out–that begins the moment we come into this world, cut from our mother’s cord.
From our beginning. From the start.
And as we walked, I was reminded of a prayer–The Abba Prayer by the late Brennan Manning. He taught it to us, as well as others, some time ago when we were blessed to hear him speak. He taught it to many who’ve read his books or heard him share about his own fears, struggles, shortcomings–about those things that almost made him drown.
It’s simple and yet, profound.
Abba (as one inhales),
I belong to You (as one exhales).
I belong to You.
I belong to You.
The truth discovered in this short 5-word prayer is steeped in scripture, because we do belong to our Daddy. To Abba. He formed us from dust and breathed His own breath into our lungs–gave us His life. And we came alive. And we lived.
And we live.
We live to pray–to both praise and petition. To partake of God’s goodnesses, discovered all around us–yes, even while practicing separation. To participate in helping others.
That’s what we can do–though, perhaps, for me, it means turning off the news when fear makes me feel like I’m drowning. Maybe the same is true for you, or maybe there’s something else you need to do. Whatever it takes that we might breathe easier–pressing deeper into the breast of our Creator. Feel His heartbeat and know we weren’t made to cower in fear but to walk by faith. To find ways to serve others, but only after breathing–much like we’re instructed when preparing to fly.
Should our cabin lose pressure, oxygen masks will drop from overhead areas. Please place the mask over your own mouth and nose before you assist others.
We must breathe before we can offer breath to another. Before we can serve another. Before we can encourage another.
I belong to You.
While air is yet in my lungs, I will breathe Abba Daddy in. Breathe Him Out. In. Out.
Then, and only then, can l seek ways to serve–believing by faith He holds my breath.
Dear Abba, help me to trust You more. I want to take the plunge into the sea of opportunities to serve that surround me, especially in this difficult season. But I can’t do it unless Your breath is in me and flowing out of me–at all times. Amen.
(Click the above link–not the photo–to watch a cute video of a daughter who’s learned to trust her Daddy!)
Turn up the volume and be Abba’s child.
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