I had been sitting in my hunting blind for about two hours when I leaned over to look out the right side window. I didn’t have as clear a view from that window as I did from the left and front windows, so I’d occasionally just slowly lean over and let my eyes rove back and forth along the woods and game trails over that way. That’s when I felt it, a warm gentle breeze that washed across my face; almost like the soft brush of lips of a kiss from the mountain itself.
I’ll be honest; you don’t get too many moments like that in December in the mountains of Virginia. I relished the moment and let myself relax and enjoy myself. That’s when a thought rolled across my mind as I continued to draw in the clear mountain air, “There’s just no good substitute for breathing.”
As an asthmatic from my youth, I seem to appreciate breathing more than most. That’s actually why I run – I have to work hard at it to keep my lungs strong and functioning effectively. There’s no magic pill or potion that will do that for me (without serious side effects), but running allows me to be active, almost normal and has lots of other benefits as well. I think life is like that for all of us really; whether it’s asthma or some other challenge you might face, there’s usually no good substitute for standing up on your own and doing the thing that needs to be done. God can and wants to help you, but like the invalid at the pool of Bethesda, he often demands that you “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” (John 5:8)
What do you need to take a stand against today? Addiction? Apathy? Physical ailments? Debt? Fear and worry? Anger and frustration? Whatever it is, just take a moment to close your eyes, take in a long slow breath and then let it go just as slowly. Let your weakness flow out of you with that breath. Then take in another slow breath and ask God to help you to stand and walk. No one can do that part for you. He’s willing and able, but it might just take a bit of effort on your own. Go ahead. Breathe…