Deep breath

Life

Sep 08, 2017 by Will Maule

When You're Struggling For Air, Breathe Deep The Kingdom Of God

As Hurricane Irma edges ever closer to the east coast of Florida, weary Americans are gazing at the forecast and watching two other tropical storms morph into fully blown Hurricanes. 'When will it end?' they ask. Half of Houston is still underwater, many of the Western States are on fire, and let's not even mention North Korea. Simply put, the United States is very much pressed on every side (2 Corinthians 4:8-9).

Will Maule

Will Maule is a journalist and editor at HelloChristian.com. He's married to his wife Caroline and has a little baby boy. He loves guitars, tennis, golf, and tea. Will lives in Northern Ireland.

Whilst much of the threat is external, its immediacy is no less daunting. But perhaps your troubles go far beyond the weather forecast. As many spend the weekend huddled in cramped storm shelters, gasping for any available breath of fresh air, perhaps you are feeling stifled by your circumstances, daunted by the future, and overwhelmed by the challenges you face? Well, there is still good news for you. There is peace, there is hope, and there is relief in the presence of Jesus Christ. And He is available to you today. 

I want to focus on the final element of that last sentence: relief. I have a long-standing belief that relief is the most powerful emotion one can experience. I say experience because you don't just 'feel' relief. You savor every beautiful inch of it. Relief comes in many forms. Maybe you have a brief scare, an adrenaline pump followed by a settling of the stomach. I had this recently when my 2-month-old baby boy was given a medical check, and we were casually enlightened of what sounded like incredibly alarming news. It was only after I spoke to my Father, a doctor, that I was reassured and granted that 'sigh of relief.' 

That beautiful sigh. The filling of the lungs, the uptake of oxygen in the blood, the sweet experience of peace. Problem is, there are many things the world is offering to us that promise relief and grant us trouble. I went through a period of dealing with stress by smoking. It helped me think. I told myself, like many do, that it 'cleared my head.' But really, it compounded my problems. Don't get me wrong, the first puff of that Marlboro Light was a glorious and sweet relief. There was something empowering in the defiance felt as I set fire to my insides for fun (cheeky Daughter lyric ref). But really, the whole process just compounded my problems. The only difference was that I now had to face them feeling dizzy and smelling like an ash tray. 

There will be many Floridian's breathing that sigh of relief when they emerge from their homes unscathed in a couple of days. I'm praying that will be the experience of the masses. Indeed, it will be a moment to celebrate. But what about the next hurricane? The next health crisis? The next military standoff?

Friends, we must understand that relief on this earth is fleeting. And if we live in the anticipation of the next catastrophe, we will never be free. I believe a living and breathing faith in Jesus Christ is the answer to this troubling conundrum. He does not promise an easy life, but He promises to go with us into the battlegrounds of darkness, and most importantly, He promises to never, ever leave us (Matthew 28:20). What a wonderful reassurance to live with!

Oh, and the final ending for those who place their trust in Christ? The greatest relief you will ever experience...ad Infinitum

See, one day, we will all breathe deeply the true and unadulterated Kingdom of Heaven. Yes, we are gifted glimpses on earth, and we should be incredibly thankful for those moments. But on that final day, our stifled Earthly lungs will be filled full with thick, joy-infused air that will never go thin. There will be no future catastrophe to occupy our minds or steal our euphoria. The pleasure will be unending. I look forward to that day. Do you?

"The Spirit of God has made me, And the breath of the Almighty gives me life." - Job 33:4


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