Just a Breath
Let’s be honest— it stinks. The movies depict mornings that involve rolling around in bed without anyone first getting up to brush their teeth. While this may be realistic for some couples, I don’t think “morning breath is the new sexy” is going to become a slogan anytime soon.
Some people can roll over and start making out with their spouse, I’m not one of them. Don’t get me wrong, I love my husband, but the occasion is rare that he gets a kiss (or anything else) before brushing his teeth.
Isn’t it interesting that we often smell someone’s breath long before we ever feel it.
Last week I was reading in the book of John about the days after Jesus had risen from the dead. There are many accounts of what He did during those days— whom He spent time with, His conversations, but there are four words that really stuck out to me: “He breathed on them.”
Four short and simple words that have weighed on me ever since.
He breathed on them. What does that mean? Let’s remember that this was before Colgate or Crest were on the scene. So, my first thought while pondering this phrase was, “stank-breath!” And my second thought was “how close do you actually have to be to feel someone’s breath?”
I don’t know about you, but there are only three people whose breath I feel on a regular basis: my husband and two daughters. There are many others who’s breath I smell, but very rarely do I feel it.
Often we even hear a breath before we feel it. We hear the desperate sighs of our spouses, friends and loved ones as they wrestle with hard decisions and challenging circumstances. We catch loud groans, quick gasps and exaggerated exhales but rarely do we feel them.
Parents, think back to those first nights after you brought home your new baby. Remember those moments when you bent low in the darkness to check for breath to escape your sleeping babe. Chances are you held your own, afraid that you would miss the tiniest sigh.
And I go back to those four words, “He breathed on them”.
For the record these four words were not changed in translation, nor are they a metaphor for something else. In all my searching and studying— in every translation I found the same words: hebreathed.
How close do we need to be to feel the air escape His lips? Clearly, it means “close proximity”. It means that He is near and not just in the room, or sitting next to me. It requires that I face Him. It means that I am focused in His direction and that I am okay with His stank-breath on me. This is not just a casual relationship; it depicts an intimate one.
But what does it mean if I can’t feel His breath? I know that His word says that “He’ll never leave me.” So, if I suddenly recognize that He is no longer close enough to feel His breath, should I conclude that I have moved? Am I facing the His direction? Or have I become distracted?
It doesn’t take much. My phone beeps and I’m almost instantly sucked in. My kids screaming upstairs have a similar effect (most of the time). Daily I am assaulted by people and decisions, responsibilities and agendas.
But come a little closer, friend, for I want to share with you these most important words.
No matter how “full” my brain or my life is, in one intentional instant, I can be >>THIS CLOSE<< to the God who created me and knows me. With one prayer, one word, one breath, I am close enough to feel Him with me. Without fear of judgement, or worry about guilt and shame. In one whisper I can call to Him, and He is near.
In that one moment, I am pulled back into an embrace where His nearness is all I feel and His breath is inescapable.