I have asthma. It’s not super serious – I’ve never actually passed out or wound up in the hospital. But I have had extreme shortness of breath, causing me to stop everything else just to concentrate on bringing air into my lungs. I take a daily medication so it doesn’t become critical. To keep it under control. To keep my breathing normal. To stay alive, actually.
Sometimes the medication works so well that I don’t act like I have been diagnosed with asthma. I forget to carry my rescue inhaler because I’ve only had to use it a couple times in a decade. I wonder if I really need the daily medicine, or if I can stop taking it and just breathe on my own. I actually tried it one time – I just didn’t take it for a few days to see what would happen. My chest tightened. My breath didn’t come easily. It was a painful experiment. The asthma was still lurking there, threatening to close off my lungs to life-giving air. So I sheepishly went back to the medicine.
I have to take it if I want to breathe.
If I want to live.
Sometimes I wonder if that is what is happening to our Christian faith. Have we become so used to it working so well that we don’t act like we have been diagnosed with the tendency to sin? Do we forget to carry our Rescuer in our hearts everywhere we go because we have been so blessed that we rarely have to lean on Him? Are we acting like Satan isn’t lurking there, threatening to close off our hearts to life? Did we stop taking our daily medication of Scripture and prayer and worship, assuming we can do this thing on our own?
And what does that look like – life without Jesus’ medicine – living with the knowledge and gift of a prescription, but not actually filling it?
Can we breathe normally?
Are we spiritually healthy?
Are we really living?
I don’t think so. I’m looking out at a world of panic and chaos. Of battles and suffering and loss and greed and busy and debt and crime and injustice. A world showing all the symptoms of a humanity who is too proud to take their medicine. Who would rather try to prove they can do it on their own. A humanity who is gasping for breath even while claiming they are fine.
Don’t believe the lie that we don’t need Him. Don’t take the prescription and just leave it in your pocket. It’s time to stop pretending that our lives don’t depend on His medicine. The Bible, all of it, not just the pieces that go down easy. The Church, who fills our prescriptions through Sacraments. The tools of Christian living. Worship. Prayer. Service. Forgiveness. Mercy. Grace. Love.
We have to go back to Him.
We have to if we want to breathe.
If we want to live.
You are my life-giving breath. I’ve foolishly tried living without You – it was a painful experiment. Every time I’m gasping for air, choking on my latest mistake, or coughing on the smoke of sin that surrounds all of us, remind me to simply take my medicine. Cause me to stop everything else and just focus on You. Remind me to let go of my pride and come back to You. My Rescuer. My Redeemer. My life. My breath. Amen
“The spirit of God made me, and the breath of the Almighty gave me life.”
~Job 33:4 (DRA)
“Thus says God, the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people on it, and spirit to those who walk in it…”
~Isaiah 42:5 (ESV)
“And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’”
~John 20:22 (ESV)