My lungs screamed for air but I remained motionless.
I willed my muscles to be still, to consume as little oxygen as possible as I floated to the surface.
As a child, I was fiercely competitive, intent on winning the underwater hold-your-breath contest at least once in my life. (I didn’t.)
But sometimes I wonder if that’s how I live my life, head under water, holding my breath for as long as I can before I need to come up again to gulp another breath of Life-Giving Air, only to dunk down deeper this time.
Take a Deep Breath
This air I speak of is the Word of Truth, the breath that fills my spiritual lungs with breath from His very mouth. When He created me and you, our ancestor Adam, he formed him out of dirt and then bent low, took a deep breath and b-r-e-a-t-h-e-d life into him. Breath of His breath. He put some of His very Self in us.
That breath is in every one of us, created in His very image. It’s replenished with oxygen when we come up for a big gulp of air in His presence. He fills us, renews us, restores us, much like oxygen fills a collapsed lung with life-giving possibilities. Time with God is renewed breath, and the Word of God is life-giving breath.
He speaks and binds wounds, changes ordinary water into wine, calms storms and raises lives. His very Words are oxygen to the soul.
Yet how often I stubbornly refuse to breathe them deeply. How often I stick my head underwater and go as long as I can before my spiritual lungs catch fire and send a distress signal to my soul, rushing me to the ER of the throneroom of grace. And there, with His healing touch, He restores my soul, breathes life into me through His Word once more, and tells me gently, “Stay close. Breath deep. Come often.”
How to Breathe When You Can’t Remember
When I think of memorizing Scripture, I think of dry recitation and lame fill-in-the-blanks.
But how else will I have access to the oxygen tube if not through a lifeline that I finger familiarly, like friends do a rosary, turning the phrase over and over until it’s engrained deep within and points me to The Giver of Life Himself when I need Him most?
The words themselves? They have no power to save.
The one who knows 183 Bible verses by heart is no better off than the one who struggles with John 3:16. It’s not the words that save.
It’s the One who speaks the words that has the power. He is the Word. He is Life.
Where else can I go?
Lord, to whom shall we go? For you have the words of eternal life.
How will my feet find the path when I’ve wandered far away?
Your word is a lamp for my feet,
a light on my path.
How will I remember right from wrong when I’m so faint I can hardly think straight?
Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.
God’s Word, etched deep within me through tedious memorization, is my lifeline when I need the Breath of Life to fill me once again.
And can I be real with you, dear friend? It’s hard. I have a terrible memory and can’t remember my own wedding vows let alone countless verses read in numerous translations.
But this I know: filling my heart and mind with God’s Word is worth every moment even if I don’t remember each verse exactly right. Because God isn’t interested in conjunctions and commas—He’s all about communion.
And if the discipline of sitting down with memory cards and pencil to read over words again and again brings me closer to Jesus, then by golly I’ll do it, even on the hard days.
Because I don’t want to live life with raspy lungs gasping for air. I want the breath of God to fill me and flow through me.
Day 28 Challenge: Do you have a habit of Scripture memorization? Pick one verse today, and work on memorizing it all week. Then next week, review the verse and start working on another one. Bit by bit, breath by breath, our lives will be transformed by the Word of God living deep within us.
Father, You know how hard this is for me but how much I truly desire to memorize Your Word. So, I’m asking You for supernatural strength and unusual memory, because I can’t do this by myself. Holy Spirit, bring these Words to life on the page so that they’re engraved on my heart and ring true in my mind. You can do this, so fill me, Lord, with Your breath of life.
Photo Credit: chany14
This is the 28th post in the series, “Abiding in Christ–when reading the Bible isn’t an option.” Check out all the posts here.