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It is incredible to think about what happens with one breath. Lungs expand, and life-giving oxygen is ferried around the body while carbon dioxide is released. At a smaller level, alveoli and capillaries assist with gas transfer, red blood cells carry oxygen to vital organs, and nerves run a fragrance-deciphering relay. One breath mobilises our entire body!
Breathing also affects us mentally. Relaxation techniques include deep, slow and controlled breathing. A breath like this can help dissipate feelings like anxiety and anger.
More wonderful than the intricacies of the human breath, is the breath of God the Creator. His breath creates physical life, refreshes weary spirits, and speaks of eternity. It blows down barriers to bring us into freedom, and gently whispers God’s unceasing love. It is the breath of God within us that moves us to worship and sing a new song to Him.
“By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host.” (Psalm 33:6)
Life Over Death
“Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow.” (Psalm 144:4)
Death is inevitable, yet our perspectives on it differ. For some, it is like a faraway dream, and for others, it is an expected reality. Medical training equips us to deal with the possibility of death. It exposes us to many of its facets – uncertainty, pain, relief, the fight, peace, fear, and faith.
Working in a nursing home, death and its implications are starkly highlighted through end of life planning and advanced care directives. Some residents have even paid for prepared funeral plans. Sadly, not everyone feels at peace about death. There are those taken unexpectedly and those who fear the finality of death.
As Christians, we can have a different perspective. We know that each one of us, made in the image of God, has eternity to live. Billy Graham describes it like this:
“Some day you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it. I shall be more alive than I am now. I will just have changed my address. I will have gone into the presence of God.” 1
Life on earth is only a passing shadow when we consider a future of eternity in the presence of God, but it also carries great significance. When all things are restored, there will be no more crying, no more pain, no more blinding of vision. Therefore, we will not have the same opportunities to comfort the hurting, or to demonstrate faith in the face of suffering then as we do right now. God is glorified in these things as we wait for that eternity when all will see and know God, though not all will have worshipped Him.
On earth, we make choices that will affect eternity. Will we chose to love God and serve Him? Will we steward the gifts and opportunities He gives us? Are we living now to store up treasures on earth, or treasures in heaven?
As children of God, we have a hope beyond death – eternal life in Christ our Lord. This is not a hope to be kept to ourselves, but a light to be shared with the world. We do this as we listen to our patients with compassion, as we work with integrity, as we treat our colleagues with love, as we bring joy into the workplace, and as we navigate difficult situations with trusting confidence in God who sees us through.
In this world that knows death, let us be revealers of the love, hope, joy and life found in Jesus Christ. His victory has overcome the grave.
Dr Kristen Dang
Dr Kristen Dang is a family doctor who loves music, writing and anything artsy. She lives with her husband and daughter in Adelaide and writes a regular blog (lostnowfoundk) on life with God. Her second blog (lilyofthevalleysk), aims to share her love for Jesus through the creative arts.
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- Quotes and Guidance from Billy Graham (February 21, 2018). Accessed online: https://billygraham.org