by Kristen

I think about breath a lot. I watch the shallow rise and fall of my grandma’s chest as she sleeps. I adjust her oxygen and murmur prayers of gratitude that this round of pneumonia is free of the agonizing cough and battle for breath previous bouts have brought. I listen to my nephew’s easy breathing; I do not take it for granted after hearing the gasping wheeze that accompanied many respiratory struggles in his young life.

The power of breath stuns me.

God breathed life into a man.[1] Jesus breathed the Spirit onto the disciples.[2] And someday Jesus will return, and He will breathe out again and it will kill the lawless one.[3]

The same breath—radically different results. Evil cannot tolerate the goodness of God. One exhalation of the Spirit will slay it. It won’t be the force or velocity of the breath. God didn’t hold back as He breathed into Adam. Jesus didn’t sigh out the Spirit on His disciples. And He won’t huff with gale force breath on the Antichrist. The same measure of breath gives life and takes it away. Purity blows away impurity.

And in some wild mystery the same enlivening Spirit that will conquer evil with a breath resides in me.

I breathe in and breathe out.


[1] Genesis 2:7

[2] John 20:22

[3] 2 Thessalonians 2:8


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