Just Breathe

The law of the conservation of energy states that the total energy of an isolated system is constant; energy can be transformed from one form to another, but cannot be created or destroyed.  I thank God for scientific discovery and understanding such as this, and I would never abandon the human pursuit of knowledge and breakthrough, but are we meant to be governed by such things?  This is where I believe we get into a bit of trouble.  Much of what we do on a day-to-day basis and how we view our circumstances is based on the assumption that we are part of a closed system; as the law of energy states.  In other words, our hard work is what equals positive results and a cushy retirement, but a slothful life will lead to living on the streets.  We’ve all heard it said: “You get what you deserve” or better yet, let’s put a Christian twist on it, “A man reaps what he sows” (Galatians 6:7).

I don’t disagree with this statement as long as it’s used in the correct context, but an important part of reading the Bible is not clinging onto individual statements and trying to apply them to every part of life.  We can’t look at the principle of reaping and sowing and just assume God is only willing to bless us when we do something good, or that He is waiting to crush us when we do something bad.  We must look at the totality of God, including His heart and character which are shown throughout the entire Bible.  When the apostle Paul was inspired to write these words in Galatians, it was because God wanted us to address the motivation behind what we do.  If we do things to please our sinful nature, we will bring about destruction, but if we do things to please Him, we are setting ourselves up for the peace of eternal life (Galatians 6:8).

Although the principle of “getting what you deserve” can certainly be ascertained from this verse, what about when we get what we don’t deserve?  How about when we appear to be reaping the opposite of what we’ve sown?  Or what about the one that has been challenging me lately: how are we supposed to pull resources from an “isolated system,” or our own environment, when every road explored seems to have its limitations?  Or to put it another way, how come our needs aren’t always met when we work hard, work smart, and have the right motivations? 

The answer lies in my original observation of whether we are strictly being governed by principles of man that have boundaries and restrictions, or by a God who knows no bounds.  As I mentioned before, there are some factors in my life right now that haven’t been the easiest to navigate through.  I have found myself spending countless hours thinking through different scenarios and plans to overcome the obstacles I’m facing, but have literally reached what feels like an impasse.  I can’t seem to find a reasonable way to think or work my way around the difficulties in front of me.  Am I getting what I deserve?  Reaping what I’ve sown?  Is there something in my heart that is not pure?  I don’t believe so. 

In a time of prayer over these situations, from somewhere deep in my spirit, I simply said, “God I need you to breathe on my life.”  The moment the words came out, it felt more honest and raw than any of the prayers I had uttered recently.  I realized I had just asked God to reach beyond the closed and isolated system that my eyes were seeing and make something materialize from nothing.  Wait a minute – are we even allowed to do this?  Doesn’t this go against what we’ve been taught that we have to work for everything we have?  It does if you view God through the lens of a human system; believing that He’s only willing to bless us if we’ve done everything right.

There is certainly no arguing that hard work and perseverance will positively influence the ability of great things happening in your life.  There are thousands of “American dreams” or “rags to riches” testimonies to back this up, but I’m more interested in when God makes something out of nothing.  These are the times when there is no human input or effort into the situation, yet He chooses to create, bless, and change a situation.  God’s ability and willingness to do this dismantles our sense of control because He is literally introducing resources from Heaven that were not there before.  I’m not saying we can abandon a life of honest work in exchange for a prayer every once in a while to get us out of a pinch; but instead, I’m realizing sometimes our “pinch” is beyond our capabilities.  Many people won’t humble themselves to this point because it means they can’t take the credit when the good things happen, citing “good karma” for all the goodness they’ve sown.

Remember what I said about looking at the totality of God throughout the Bible and not just at small segments?  When we do, we will see that His love overshadows everything else.  It allows us to understand that things such as the law of the conservation of energy don’t exist in God’s kingdom.  His words were literally the building blocks that created everything we see, and His breath gave life to our bodies (Genesis 1:1-27 & 2:7).  There was no “raw material” for Him to start with when He crafted the earth, and this propensity to make things happen as He sees fit, or speak things into existence, is a key part of who He is.  I’ve learned this about God over the years, and I suppose that’s why my prayer for Him to breathe on my life - to make something happen from nothing - felt so right.  I’ve come to know it’s within His ability, but more importantly, it’s His desire.  I want you to listen to the Apostle Paul as he explains this exact trait of the One True God to a group of people who have been caught-up in worshipping false gods.

“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands.  And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else.”  He goes on to say, “God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.” Acts 17:24, 25 & 27

What I hear God saying when I read this is that He creates life and abundance all around us for relationship!  He is more than willing to show up powerfully into a situation with heaven’s resources simply because He loves us – we don’t need to give Him a reason!

I think it’s clear that God doesn’t need us to perform a certain way in order for Him to act.  I also think it’s clear that often times the situation we find ourselves in isn’t indicative of our heart or behavior.  If you need a few examples look at the life of Joseph, Job, and Jesus himself.  They are just a few of many throughout the Bible who suffered, and God chose to breathe upon them, turning their situations around.  Joseph was elevated to a role of prominence after being sold as a slave by his brothers; Job had his entire household restored two-fold after everything was stripped away; and Jesus was raised back to life after suffering a grueling death.

Has hopelessness set in as you look at your life?  Is there a situation that no matter what angle you view it from, doesn’t seem to have a logical way out?  Perhaps that’s the point God wants to make – there is no thinking or working your way out of this one.  Will you set your logic aside and believe that God can make something happen from nothing?  Will you trust in the simple power of His breath?

 “I will put breath in you, and you will come to life.  Then you will know that I am the Lord.” Ezekiel 37:6