I can’t think of anything I do that doesn’t require breathing. I was a swimmer back in the day and that requires holding your breath at times, but there always comes the time when a breath is necessary. When I was hiking recently, not only was I breathing harder due to my effort, but also due to a lower oxygen content filling my lungs with each gasp. As we increase our altitude, there is a lower percentage of oxygen in the air, so we need more breaths to get the same amount of oxygen that we get at lower altitudes. This got me thinking about the air we breathe. When I wake up, I take for granted that the Lord has seen fit for my eyes to open, my heart to continue beating and my lungs to continue to allow me life through breath.
In a Facebook post, I read about an elderly gentleman coming to this same revelation. He had been in the hospital and was put on a ventilator for 24 hours to help him breathe. His body had lost its natural ability to do so. Eventually, he began breathing on his own again, so the vent was removed. As he was leaving the hospital, he was given a bill for $75,000. He began to weep and the medical staff assumed it was due to the high cost of his treatment. When asked, the man said that he was not weeping because of the bill, but rather the realization that for all of his years of living, God had never charged him one dime for air, nor the ability to breathe. The enormity of that debt overwhelmed him.
“The Lord God formed 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) God equals life!
Acts 17:25 tells us that God is “not served by human hands, as if He needed anything. Rather, He Himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else”!!
What else do we take for granted that the Lord has given us? A place to lay our heads? Food to eat? Hearing? Sight? The ability to move? Relationships? Often, we appreciate these things more if they are taken away. Only then do we realize what we had. At that point, my typical first response is to whine about what is gone, as opposed to being grateful for what I had the privilege of having. I think my whining spoils the blessing that I was given…kind of like crying over the fact the homemade birthday cake is gone instead of relishing the deliciousness of what I got to experience. When my breath is gone, I cannot lament the good ole days of having it. Instead, I will be facing the God who gave it to me for my whole life!
I am challenged to revive my attitude of gratitude for the huge, constant gifts from the Lord. Thanks should always be on my lips! That way, once I am with Him, my saying “thank you” won’t be the first time He is hearing it. 😊