Run no. 22 – Keep breathing


Distance: 4.53 miles   Time: 40’ 30”

Someone once said that the secret of eternal life is simply;

Breathe in, breathe out, repeat…

Breathing is one of those things that you mostly forget about. It’s an automatic thing, unconscious.

In fact, you only ever start to think about breathing when, for some reason, it becomes a problem.

Such as during exercise, when your ability to take in oxygen is less than your muscles requirement for it.

Or when you get a really bad cold and are ‘bunged’ up, or when you get a chest infection and cannot seem to get a breath.

Or when you are trying to swim a certain distance underwater, or just hold your breath for a certain time, and you feel your bodies raging need for oxygen.

Suddenly, in these particular instances, breathing is not a thoughtless, automatism, but an essential, life-preserving activity.

As I ran breathlessly, around King Lear’s Lake this morning, I found myself thinking how the spiritual life is a little like breathing.

When God first starts to make us aware of Himself and of our need for Him, it is like when we are underwater and our bodies start to crave oxygen. Our first encounter with the divine, is like when our head breaks the surface and we take that first massive gulp of life-giving air.

As we take into our bodies the life-giving air, the pain in our lungs subsides, we feel life and energy rushing through us, and we feel alive.

Our first encounter with God is very much like that. Suddenly God’s love and power overwhelm us, touch every part of our being and we feel, for the very first time, truly alive.

It is not by hazard that the origins story in Genesis contains the sentence;

Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.[1]

It is not by accident that Jesus performed a similar act upon His disciples;

Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”[2]

The act of the impartation of physical life, and of spiritual life, are both accomplished by the receiving of the divine breath.

Our capacity to receive air is limited by the size of our lungs, we have a world-full of air to breathe in.

Our capacity to receive spiritual life is similarly only limited by ourselves, in God we live and move and have our being, there is more of God than we can ever receive.

It is through our praying, seeking God, meditating on His word that we receive God’s life, that is our spiritual act of breathing.

Breath in, breathe out, repeat…

[1] Genesis 2:7 NIV

[2] John 20:21-22 NIV