Hospitals around the world are scrambling to locate extra ventilators for COVID-19 patients who struggle for every breath they take. Meanwhile, the rest of us are huddled at home and ironically, celebrating the most famous breath ever taken in the history of the world.
We rejoice because after lying lifeless for three days in a tomb, the body of Christ took a smooth, deep, healthy breath, forever changing the way we live.
With that one breath, the sorrow and tragedy of death suddenly turned into a Holy miracle. Darkness was conquered and shock and celebration followed.
When God first breathed life into Adam, he created newness and freedom that sadly, led to a sinful world. Because of disobedience, we now live in a world of fear, worry, war, anger and even viruses.
When breath was given to Christ on that Easter morning, his resurrection became a fulfilled prophesy and part of the big plan to rescue and free us from the pain and punishment of sins.
Strangely enough, the one time I was kept from attending my favorite church service of the year, was due to a series of lung infections. My boys were pre-teens and after my husband straightened their ties, I took their picture while they held their Easter baskets and smiled big chocolate smiles. After they were on their way to church, I crawled back into bed and held back tears because my chest hurt when I cried. This encounter with a lung issue gave me a small glimpse into what it must be like to have the much more serious Coronavirus. Breathing is our tether to life, and when it becomes a struggle, panic sets in. This deep panic is surely compounded when family members aren’t allowed near and medical personnel stretched thin. Being sick, anxious and alone must be terrifying.
The Hebrew word for spirit is “ruach” which translates into, “air in motion,” “life” or “breath.” Christians believe this Holy Spirit moves among us today. Alone and gasping for air, on a cross 2,000 years ago, or in a hospital bed today, the Holy Spirit can comfort and care for those who suffer. It’s the peace we talk about that passes all forms of understanding.
Repairing our broken world may not happen quickly, nor will it be easy. Families have lost loved ones and businesses will suffer, but the promise of God is not to instantly fix our problems, but to be with us while we’re going through them. With the breath of God within us, we’ll never be alone, and we’ll be able to find a blessing on every step of the journey.
With the timely observance of Easter, the world is figuratively and literally gasping for relief from physical, emotional and economic discomfort and the “breath of God” or Holy Spirit is poised to move. Better than any medical team, scientist or government, the God of the resurrection can make all things brilliant and new.
Our Easter celebration of a victorious breath from the grave can turn into a world-wide victory over sickness and fear. If our nation turns to God with hearts of repentance and faith, anything is possible, and the Holy breath of life will bring us peace.
This story first appeared on AL.com and in the Mobile Press-Register, Birmingham News and Huntsville Times.