How God Renews Life with Every Breath

As part of a comparative religions class that I teach, I take my students on a field trip to a Jewish synagogue. I have a friend with whom I have worked in the community who is more than happy to share the basics of his faith and provide a tour. I’ve made this visit probably eleven or twelve times over the years.

This year our tour guide said something that really struck me. He told us Jewish belief is that God renews our life with every breath. It reminds them:

  • that each breath is a gift;
  • that life is fragile;
  • to “live in the moment”;
  • to recognize from where breath comes.

Take in oxygen and release carbon dioxide. The “good” is taken in and the “bad” is expelled. Every breath is new life. Breathe in. Breathe out. Life is renewed.

God breathed into Adam’s nostrils the breath of life, and human life on this planet began. With His breath, according to the Hebrew word ruach, God breathed into Adam His very Spirit. And on the cross, Jesus breathed His last so that for those who believe in Him, life will never end.

We are only a few thousand breaths into the new year. It’s a good time to remember:

  • that each breath is a gift;
  • that life is fragile;
  • to “live in the moment”;
  • to recognize from where breath comes.

God breathes His Spirit into us, like breath, week in and week out, as He breathes out His breath in public worship. It’s a good time to remember that through the breath of God’s Word public worship:

  • delivers the gifts of forgiveness, hope, and peace;
  • takes fragile lives, adds faith, and provides strength;
  • provides the purpose people need to “live in the moment”;
  • points us to the One who gives us life, breath, and being.

Take a moment right now to notice your breath. Breathe in. Breathe out.

Now thank the One who gives you that breath. Take the time this week to receive a dose of spiritual mouth-to-mouth resuscitation in public worship. Your life will be renewed.

What does it mean to you that God renews your life with every breath?

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2 thoughts on “How God Renews Life with Every Breath

  1. Amazing, isn't it, that we should learn something so beautiful and edifying from a faith that is stereotypically seen as very lifeless. We were neighbors with the orthodox Rabbi and family in Flint, MI. Our over-the-fence conversations were way more spiritual than with those in our Lutheran congregation at that time. We were blessed to be able to provide child care and other duties as well as attend a circumcision and mikvah dedication during our short time there. Yes, Tom, it was a breath of fresh God-breathed air. Thanx for stepping outside of the box.

    • Breathing is something we take for granted until we get the breath knocked out of us (like happened to me last week). Then nothing is more precious than the next breath we take. God is a lot like that – always working in our lives most of the time unnoticed until the BIG things happen and we realize He's been there all along.