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Gasping for Breath


Peace and promises; two gifts from God we long for yet believe are a galaxy away in actually receiving. Conditions restrict our spiritual lungs and prevent us from taking a deep and full breath. Do I sense you nodding in agreement? If so, you’re not alone.

When Moses approached the Israelites carrying the diplomatic pouch containing God’s compassionate plan to them from slavery in Egypt it says in Exodus 6:9: “Moses reported this to the Israelites, but they did not listen to him because of their discouragement and harsh labor.”


The word ‘discouragement’ is actually two Hebrew words that can literally be translated as “short gasps of anguished breathing where one cannot draw long breaths." Sometimes what God promises doesn’t appear believable to our present state of mind, so our hearts resist assimilating such a splendid promise as deliverance. If you've ever had a panic attack, you know the feeling of being physically unable to breathe because of an mental, emotional, or spiritual reality.

As SCC’s minister I am witness to breathtaking suffering in nearly each network of family and friends. Our weekly prayer list enumerates an inordinate number of stumbles and falls, bruises and injuries, procedures and needs. But we cannot let conditions keep us from listening to God’s upward call that things will get much better than this. Discouragement and harsh labor is not the end of our story. Being in dire straits - unable to breathe, unable to focus, hearts and souls unable to hope - is not the end of the story. On the contrary, it's the first step toward liberation because it leads us to cry out. Prayers, even those watered with tears, water new growth of heart and soul. After all, the Psalmist said, “Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy.” (Psalm 126:5)


So, if you haven’t prayed in quite a while or if you have a regular daily habit of prayer and meditation - even if all you can muster is a primal scream - cry out to God. It’s not a vain attempt to get God to notice us - He ALWAYS NOTICES and ALWAYS CARES for us. But we need to cry out, because it’s the first step in opening our hearts to God, the One, “…who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine…” (Ephesians 3:20)


Please share with me your thoughts, concerns, or experiences by commenting below.

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