Such a simple phrase, emphasizing the inhaling and exhaling of air. However, are there times, or events in life, that cause even the air that we breathe to become so heavy that it becomes a burden, not a gift? What is it in our individual lives that can make us lose sight of the most basic of God’s life giving principles, even one we all learned as a child…just BREATHE!
How often do we hear those words uttered when someone is ill, in distress, or when someone is needing to bring their anger level back out of the red zone? Often it’s a means to add reassurance or to calm an elevating situation by suggesting someone take a “deep breath.” Maybe you have said it yourself, either out-loud or inside your own head, “Just breathe.”
Recently, I found myself saying those exact words as I sat upright out of a sound sleep. “Breathe, just breathe!” Part of those words were in my head and part were said out loud as I was shaking off the dilemma of trying to figure out where I was and why I couldn’t catch my breath.
I was at home, in bed. However, the reason I was completely off-kilter was because I woke with the unfamiliarity of a mask on my face. This was the first night of sleeping with a machine that was suppose to help me breathe better, yet I could not exhale the air that was pushing into my lungs. Even in my groggy haze I made a split-second decision to throw off the mask. Immediately, a stream of air filled my nostrils and finally my lungs. I could breathe again and it felt wonderful!
The next morning, after evaluating that particular machine, it became clear it had certain limitations. It was not capable of interpreting human variations in inhaling and exhaling. Nor can it change it’s programmed air-pressure. But the basic limitation: it is a machine and I am a human being, created by God.
Have you ever been in a situation like that, where things were going along fine then all of a sudden your breath was taken away? Needless to say it can take you off-guard and in a split second you have a decision to make.
You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely.
It is in those times, that no matter how unplanned, how unexpected nor how unsettling, God’s hand is there. So why not stop, for that split second, and purposefully grasp the hand of the one who has made you. If you have given your life to Him, He knows you and He is already there.
In other words, God is with you and your unique situation. His hand will guide you and will continue to hold you fast so that you can continue to breathe…Just BREATHE!
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.