Ordinary Breath

Amy Clemens

Read: Genesis 2:5-9

Then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. (v. 7)

There is something about letting someone come close enough to feel their breath—it’s not a thing we do with many people in our lives. I read once—and your own experience may confirm this—that there are few things that make us more vulnerable than allowing another person near enough to touch our face. But this is how close God came to “inspire” or “breathe into” us.

The worship song “Great Are You Lord” says, “It’s your breath in our lungs, so we pour out our praise.” As I sang it recently, I found myself thinking about our very breath belonging to God, and the intimacy of God breathing life into us. Perhaps this is the “sloppy wet kiss” of heaven meeting earth that songwriter John Mark McMillan wrote about in “How He Loves,” a lyric suggesting how intimately we are known by one who wove us in the womb, knows the number of hairs on our heads, and hears our thoughts. Everything else in creation, God spoke into being—but humans required more intimacy: shaping with his hands, then breathing into.

The hymn, “Breathe on Me Breath of God,” written in 1878, is also a poignant telling of this truth, along with the other two. They presuppose that God is still breathing life into us—and that is very good. —Amy Clemens

As you pray, ask for God to breathe on you anew, literally “inspiring” his life into you.