My daughter always preferred wading to an underwater experience. When she was little, she tended to gravitate to zero-depth pools. Even now, once in, she’d rather walk head-above-water than go deep, though she has grown in courage over the years.
The last few summers, she’s experimented with going under. This usually involved plugging her nose and puffing her cheeks, followed by a hesitant bow into the water that lasted a few seconds at most. By the time she was finally comfortable going under for more than a minute, the pools were closing for the season. I know it’s just a matter of time before she’s fully at ease underwater.
As the summer approaches, we’re preparing for fresh opportunities, and until then we’ll begin to practice holding our breath. After all, it seems like that’s all we’re doing lately…holding our breath. Waiting for this pandemic to end so we can come up for air and breathe once again.
In less than a month, our world has changed in drastic ways. Nothing is as it was, and we wonder if anything will be back to normal once it’s through. We wonder when we’ll breathe that sigh of “we’ve made it through, we’re out of the deep.” And we mournfully remember those who took their final breaths in the process.
It would be a fearful time, if I did not know the one who holds my breath.
Last year, long before the pandemic hit, my dad took his final breath this side of heaven. In the days before he passed, I sat at his bedside singing hymns. When he had the strength, he’d lift his fragile hand as if to say, “I’d sing with you if I could.” When I shared scripture, he’d nod faintly in agreement. Until he was too weak to move at all. The last night I spent in his hospital room, he spoke the last words I’d hear him say to me. “Thank you.” He went to hospice soon after, and he died minutes after we’d surrounded him with songs of praise.
For us, it was a painful loss. But I imagine him arriving in heaven as one emerges from the deep, taking a glorious breath of untainted air.
And seeing him in his last hours has dissolved my fear with the confidence of knowing there’s one greater who holds my breath. The God who created heaven and earth breathed life into my lungs and new life into my spirit. His thoughts for me outnumber grains of sand, and he knows the number of my days. So even now, as our world is shaken, I will not fear.
I know who hold my life. I know who holds my future. I know who holds my destiny. And I know who holds my breath.
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.” (Psalm 46:1-3)
Photo Credit: LightThroughWater_Pixabay_labeled free to use or share on Google Images