Breath

Greg got this plant for me on our anniversary three years ago. When he bought it, it had just one single bloom, and in the three years since it has continued to grow and flourish as a green plant with no blooms. But I noticed the other day there was suddenly a bloom on the plant. Out of nowhere, a beautiful white bloom just appeared. In those three years all I did was water the plant…water the plant…and suddenly now, new life sprouted.
Jaana has had a fish tank for over a year now, and we’ve seen close to 20 fish come and go in that year. Just the other day, Jaana screamed loudly with joy and called me. There was a baby fish in the tank! A little, itty-bitty baby fish that was mostly eyes, swimming merrily in the tank. In the time we’ve had the fish, all we’ve done is feed the fish…feed the fish…and suddenly, new life was born.

New life is suddenly appearing everywhere. After years of having a job I liked, my role has suddenly changed into a job I love. After praying fervently about a school for Jaana (who starts Kindergarten in the fall), the door has suddenly opened and provision been made for her to go to the Christian school I wanted her to go to all along. And now other areas in my life are suddenly alive with a newness that is unexpected but very welcome.

What strikes me as fascinating is that the places that have new life were all doing well before. The plant has continued to grow on the mantle. The fish continue to swim in the tank. My job continued to provide income. Jaana would go to Kindergarten anyway. But suddenly, it seems, these things are not just doing well, they are now thriving and bursting with new life. Like God breathed on them and newness was brought forth. Because that’s what his breath does – it takes what’s already there and makes it better. Makes it more than it was. Makes it thrive.

In Genesis 17, Abram was a man who was considered the wealthiest of men. But God changed his name from Abram to Abraham. God added the “ha” to his name, which is a letter of his name, Jehovah. God breathed part of his own name into Abram, and changed him from being what he was (Abram, “exalted father”) into something new (Abraham, “father of a multitude”). (Matthew Henry Commentary)

In Ezekiel 37, God tells Ezekiel to speak to what’s already in the valley – dry bones – and to tell the bones that the Lord will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. And Ezekiel speaks it, and they come to life, stand on their feet and become a vast army. Because of the breath of God.
In Genesis 2, God takes what is already there – dust of the ground – forms man out of it, and breathes into his nostrils the breath of life. And the dust became Adam. Because of the breath of God.

There’s nothing I can do to make God breathe. All I can do is be diligent in what I’ve been given. Water the plant – feed the fish. Quench my thirst with Living Water – feed my mind with the Bread of Life. Water, feed…water, feed. And somewhere along the way, God decides to just breathe. And new life appears. He breathes, and my name changes. He breathes, and what was dead becomes alive. He breathes, and new life is formed out of nothing. He breathes. He inserts part of his name – Jehovah – into our lives and what at once seemed okay becomes even better.

As Job said, “The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life” (33:4).

“For I am about to do a brand-new thing. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness for my people to come home. I will create rivers for them in the desert!” (Isaiah 43:18-19)

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