As long as my breath is in me and the spirit of God is in my nostrils, my lips will not speak falsehood, and my tongue will not utter deceit.
How do you imagine God? How do you conceive the Creator of galaxies and star clusters? How do you picture Him? The greatest of the saints and sages have all said that any concept we have of God cannot be God, because God will always be greater, more wondrous than our concepts. Finite minds cannot fathom the infinite God!
I was recently startled yet again by God’s unimaginable greatness as I was reading the book of Job and came across today’s Scripture: “As long as my breath is in me and the spirit of God is in my nostrils…” I stopped reading for a moment, drew a deep breath and wondered at the “spirit of God in my nostrils”! I had never thought of the God of the cosmos as close to me as that! I had not imagined the Spirit of God in each breath!
If we miss this inconceivable wonder in the book of Job, we could find it on the first page of the Bible where it reads, “The LORD God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being” (Genesis 2:7). Adam was a lifeless figure, a statue of dust until the Spirit of God breathed into his nostrils. The same is true of us until the Spirit breathes life into us.
As a pastor and a chaplain I have been present at the bedside of many who have breathed their last breath. Each time I am struck by how everything appears the same, and yet everything is suddenly different. The breath of God is gone!
Stop and think for a moment and take a deep breath. Now think about that breath. The breath you are taking in is more than just air; it is God breathing His life into you. It is the same Spirit-breath of life that blew upon the primeval chaos (Genesis 1:2), that blew upon ancient prophets (2 Peter 1:20-21), upon the Valley of Dry Bones (Ezekiel 37:1-14), and upon the Church at Pentecost. It is same Spirit that raised Jesus from death (Romans 8:11), and the same Spirit raising us to Christ’s new, supernatural dimension of living (Romans 8:11).
A prayer in the English “Liturgy of the Hours” asks for the moment-by-moment experience of the power of God’s life breathing in us:
Spirit of God, on the waste and the darkness
Hov’ring in power as creation began,
Drawing forth beauty from clay and from chaos
Breathing God’s life in the nostrils of man,
Come and sow life in the waste of our being,
Pray in us, form us as sons in the Son.
Open our hearts to yourself, mighty Spirit,
Bear us to life in the Three who are One.
(Stanbrook Abbey Hymnal)
How do you imagine God? How do you conceive Him? He is not the God “up there”! He is the God as close to you, as near to you as your own breath! He is the God in whom “we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). He’s in every breath we take! So we would pray, “Open our hearts to yourself, mighty Spirit/Bear us to life in the Three who are One.”
Grace and peace,