Date: Tuesday, December 17
Scripture: Genesis 2:4-9
Verse: then the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being. (Genesis 2:7)
A man was telling a story about something extraordinary happening in his church. At the climactic moment he said, “and then God showed up.” The author then wonders facetiously where God had been before.* We, of course, know what the storyteller meant, but the way he chose to tell his story perpetuates a misunderstanding about the presence of God. Many people think of God as one absent from our world, but who periodically breaks in to the perform a miracle, answer a prayer, give us a spiritual experience, or some other God-thing. The truth is, God is as near as our breath.
In the biblical creation accounts, God forms human beings out of the dust of the ground, affirming our deep connection to this world. In many ways we are just a collection of dust, and to dust we shall return (see Genesis 3:19). But then God does something amazing. He connects us to him by breathing into the nostrils of this first person, “and the man became a living being.” It is this infusion with the breath of God that makes us more than dust (see yesterday’s devotion for more on this).
God uses two things of which we are seldom aware, air and breathing, as signs of his presence. We breathe without thinking about it. We can literally do it in our sleep. But we notice when something “takes our breath away.” Similarly, the air is always around us, indoors and out, but it seems to “show up” when we are fighting through the wind to get to the front door of the church.
God is not far away, waiting for you to invite him to break into your life. Instead, he is as near as the air and your next breath, waiting for you to notice his presence.
Prayer: Thank you God for creating me, and breathing into me the breath of life. Amen.
Action: Set a timer for 2-minutes and quietly sit with your eyes closed. Become aware of your breathing. As you inhale pray silently, “Thank you God for creating me,” and during your exhale, “and breathing into me the breath of life.” Repeat this for the full 2 minutes.
Respond: If you tried the breath prayer in the “Action,” what was your experience? Answer by clicking “Leave a Comment” below.
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*Bell, Rob. What We Talk About When We Talk About God. New York: HarperOne, 2013. Print. p. 97f.