My Third Question; God’s Breath- What’s It Like?Posted: September 9, 2011
Due to Irene’s arrival and departure and my lack of electricity for over a week (no internet/ phone for 11 days!), my third installment has been detained as far as answering my own questions that I had during my trip around the world. The third question will be a little abstract so bear with me. It will also have some symbolism, too. Like my kids sometimes say, “Mom can make a spiritual parallel to anything!”
So, here is the question;
How does God breathe His breath on our souls? Is His breath hot, humid, and hazy like it was in Shanghai? Is it tropical like it is in Kande, Sri Lanka? Is it frigid like it is during the indoor ice festival in Harbin? Is it cool, damp, and rainy like London? Is it a warm breeze, like the one I felt blowing off of the Indian Ocean? How does He make Himself known in so many places? And in so many ways?
This question was one that I thought of when I was feeling the wind blowing across a field or when I pulled my raincoat closer to me in the rain of London. I felt it when the hot, rancid air of Sri Lanka wafted over me while I tried to sleep and in the ice palace with my winter coat and pants on. Is His breath full of force and gale or is it a tender breeze? Well, it’s all that, isn’t it?
My conclusion is that God makes His presence known through many kinds of “breezes and breaths.” Some are familiar and some are not. In preparation for Irene, we knew that we needed to remove anything that wasn’t nailed down and store it somewhere where the winds wouldn’t take things away or blow through a neighbor’s yard or hit their home. We also knew that, when we packed for our trip, that we needed a carry-on luggage worth of clothes that would be suitable for ANY climate type and situation. Application; be prepared for anything God has!
Sometimes we need a whisper to get our attention. And sometimes we need a scream! Even in the busiest of Beijing, God’s still small voice was audible to me. He reminded me of His presence. He reminds me now of times that breath and breathing meant something significant to me, too.
When my mother was very sick and in the hospital, I recall spending many nights there. Our family took turns in making sure there was always someone there with her. Since I live so far away, when I arrived to the hospital in Milwaukee, I insisted that I take the next few days and be on site just in case mom needed something in the night. By then, she was hooked up to kind of an internal vacuum cleaner that was pumping out her stomach. That sound of heavy, whirring breathing haunted me so that I couldn’t sleep a wink. I was restless.
And when she was discharged to home care, she was with us less than only 24 hours before she breathed her last, labored breaths. I will always remember her breathing then. And I will always remember when it stopped forever here on earth. No rhythmic pulsing, no rise and fall of the chest.
Conversely, I will always remember the sweet breath of my babies when they were near me when I nursed them. Or even the secret, “I love yous” breathed in a whisper from my husband. I remember my heavy breathing when I was in a 5K walking race, walking with Rosie in a heavy duty stroller and pushing her up and down the hills. I felt I could hardly breath and could hardly take a sip of water as I panted away. (Yes, I won the race, if you were wondering!). Without breath, there is no life, right?
And I thought of this old hymn, too, as I pondered breathing;
Breathe on me, breath of God; Fill me with life anew, That I may love what Thou dost love, And do what Thou wouldst do.
As long as we have breath, we can be who God wants us to be. And He can get our attention anywhere!