Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Breathe (08/19/10)
TITLE: When God Breathes
By Brenda Shipman
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It was only fitting that the One who made her should be the One to breathe life into her nostrils, making her a living creature. From that first breath, the Breath of Life enabled her to live and move and have her very being. The creature was His offspring, formed from the dust by He who made the heavens and earth by His word, and its entire host by the breath of His mouth.
For most of the girl’s childhood, her breathing streamed in and out in a comfortable easy rhythm. Then, at some point along the way fear and sadness, in its various forms, raised their ugly heads and disrupted the peaceful rhythm. Those moments arrested her breathing, and it often became staccato. The harmonious patterned breathing eluded her, and she had to remind herself to breathe in, breathe out.
The girl heard a live symphony for the first time around the age of ten. In the darkness of the auditorium, while the violins and cellos swirled around her with an overpowering beauty, she realized she had stopped breathing, afraid even one breath would cause her to miss a note, a beat, a strain that seemed to flow from heaven’s throne. It seemed like a whisper, a calling of her name that lingered throughout the years.
It was also in her childhood that she was introduced to this One who gave her life, who gave up His own life for hers – who “breathed His last” while hanging on a cross that bridged the chasm between her and God. One very special Sunday, her heart heard the lyrics of “Just as I Am” for the first time, and she held her breath at the wonder of its truths. “Now to be thine, yea thine alone, O Lamb of God I come, I come,” became the cry of her own heart, and she went … straight into His arms and into eternal life. He became the calmer of her fears, the One on whom she relied to help her breathe through every fear, every heartache, every moment that threatened to shatter her world.
The girl discovered the delights of God’s Word and the reality that, “All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” God gave her an appetite to know Him, and she hungrily tasted every word, allowing it to teach, reprove, correct and train her in the righteous character of the God she grew to love.
Her mind and heart wandered frequently, though, and she often forgot that God had made her days no longer than the width of her hand - that her lifetime was but a “mere breath”. It was during those times that her vision shifted to the temporal, and she lived for the moment, even when its fruit was empty loneliness. But, as Aslan breathed life into the stone statues of Narnia, God breathed His life-giving love into her soul over and over again. The Lion of Judah continually transformed her heart of stone into a heart of flesh.
The girl grew up, married and eventually experienced the gift of growing a new life. The moment finally arrived for her to breathe her way through the pain of childbirth - a slow, blowing, cleansing breath that helped to ease the pain and bring another living creation into the world. At first glimpse of her child, joy replaced the pain, and she breathed out a sigh of contentment.
Life continued its flow, bringing with it more heartache, more joy, and many more times of trusting God to help her breathe. Sometimes, the pain was so great that she wished she could just stop breathing altogether. But God’s grace was greater than all her pain, and she sensed the warmth of His breath infusing her with a desire to go on – to keep breathing, one breath at a time.
The day came when she herself breathed her last and she found herself before the throne, gazing on the One who had been so faithful during her days on earth. His beauty thrilled her heart, his glory filled her soul, and his majesty astounded her. The woman was amazed to discover that her breathing had changed. It was now like drinking pure clear water – water that permeated every pore of her being with His peace, beauty, righteousness, justice, glory, purity and holiness. She breathed deeply, and kept breathing, joyously … forevermore.
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