Tuesday, November 13, 2012


There’s nothing better than breathing in the pure air that surrounds Lake Superior and other large bodies of water. Or the air of western mountains. Breathing such purity can revive us—body, soul, and spirit. Not everyone has that opportunity, however, including many of our servicemen and women and emergency workers, who are often forced to choke on smoke or dust laden air. We must remember to pray for their safety—body, soul, and spirit—and their freedom from the effects of breathing bad air. Their lives and ours depend on their good health.


The Air We Breathe

We Northern Wisconsinites are blessed with clean, relatively unpolluted air. Not so those who live in areas where industrial or other kinds of pollutants fill the air. Even cigarette smoke affects many people. Add those who suffer from asthma and other lung-related diseases and the tally is incalculable.

When our lungs are filled with good air, it benefits every part of our body, including the heart muscle. If our lungs and heart are healthy, it's usually an indication of good, all-around health. When they are not, all kinds of bad things begin to happen. One thing for sure, we become sluggish and feel half-alive.

In 1988 during terrible wild fires out west, my husband and I were driving through Yellowstone on our way to northern California. The smoke became thick as fog in spots. An occasional wild animal stood or lay by the road, having come out of a smoky area. They all looked half-alive and lethargic, moving slowly.

There's such a thing as spiritual air, too. After Jesus died on the cross, His disciples no doubt grew despondent at His passing. They had lived with Him, seen His miracles, and listened to His teachings for three years. Now He was gone. What would they do? Perhaps they felt half-alive, as if the air had been snatched from their lungs.

But He reappeared after His resurrection, making Himself known to them. "Peace be with you," He said. "As the Father has sent me, I am sending you." And He breathed on them, saying, "Receive the Holy Spirit." (John 20:22) Now they could breathe deeply again, filled with His peace and power.

We need God's breath of spiritual fresh air as much as the disciples did, if we're going to be effective in our Christian walk. When our spiritual lungs are healthy, our hearts are also. Why should our hearts be half-alive, lethargic, or cold and useless when we could be loving, vibrant, growing disciples? Only then will we be able to offer God's breath of fresh air to others. His life-supporting breath wasn't meant for the twelve disciples alone—it is meant for all of us. We must avail ourselves of it.

Father, we confess to You that often we allow our hearts to beat half-time. We want them to be filled with the oxygen of Your Spirit so that others, through us, may find fresh air in their own lives. Breathe on us Your life-giving breath today. In Jesus' Name, amen.

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