A Sabbath Breath

by Virginia Hughes

The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life. Job 33:4

"Breathe in and hold, hold, hold; and…Breathe out."

I am in the MRI scanner. I breathe and hold on cue. The audio instructs, "breathe, breathe and hold." A live woman's voice interrupts occasionally to chastise me for not following the tape. "Follow the tape!" I am in trouble for breathing? Or not breathing?

It's funny. I want to laugh, but am sedated, and can't remember how to laugh. I've been strapped to the table, in a dark tunnel for a very long time. The live voice again, "Are you going to follow the tape or do we need to start over?" I do not know the answer to the questions. I am so tired. Now I'm being chastised for falling asleep. "Just breathe when you're told to, but do not sleep!" The live voice cuts in again. "Please breathe according to plan," the voice demands, but it's her plan not mine. 

His plan not ours. Adam's beginning was earth's miry clay. A mud form God breathed into being. We are miraculous breathing machines, but we forget important things. We get sedated by activity. We get lost. We get overwhelmed. We get far away from the most obvious things like sabbath rest. We are commanded to rest. Worship is our breath. Connecting to our creator and allowing him to revive us again In my parents' home, the eight of us children were forbidden to do anything on Sundays except go to church, help Mom with meals, read our Bibles and take a long nap in the afternoon.

Or we could go witnessing with Dad. My dad was tenacious about sharing the gospel.

Witnessing meant go up to a house and knock on the door. If anyone answered, Dad would ask to come in and talk about salvation. He would read the Bible, pray and invite everyone in the home to the church where he pastored. Sometimes one or two of us children accompanied Dad.

There was an unlikable man in our neighborhood who didn't want the pastor nosing around. But one of his children let us in one Sunday afternoon, and Dad had me read the Bible verses. Then we prayed until their angry dad stormed in ordering us to leave because he didn't want to hear any hellfire and damnation sermons in his own house. Dad invited the angry man and his family to our home or church anytime. He gave a Bible to the wife and ended with "God loves you."  And the man uttered a bunch of words I'd never heard before and threw the Bible in our direction while we were descending the porch steps. It landed in the shrubs. I asked Dad why visit such a bad man? Dad said he wanted the family to know who he was and where he lived. “I think they will need help someday. And when they come, I can direct their attention to God's saving grace.” 

The day came when there was a phone call from the wife. My dad yelled, "Call the police!" and ran down the street to the house with the bad man. Dad arrived before the police and went right into the house. I was watching from our second story window.

The police came and the man was taken away. Later, Dad said the man had been drinking, went on a rampage, hit his wife and had been taken to jail. Dad visited the man in jail. No one else did. It was discovered that he was wanted for other crimes and was transferred to a prison farther away. Dad gave him a Bible. He didn't throw it this time.

His wife came to our house one day and thanked Dad for saving her life. She and her children were moving back to her home town. She said, "I can breathe again. By God's grace I can breathe again."

We are commanded to remember the Sabbath and keep it holy. The fact that we require a commandment to remember who made us says a lot about us doesn't it? Worship is our breath. It is personal. Connecting to our Creator and allowing him to revive us again every day is a privilege. He intentionally breathed us into being. We must intentionally breathe him in to have our best being. We must breathe at the beginning, breathe in the middle, breathe at the end. Don't forget to . . .