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
If you follow my blog, or know me well in person, then you know that I was on a ventilator last year for almost two weeks. (You can read all the details about it here) I don’t remember it. Not really anyway. All I know is that everyone but my husband knew I was going to die. It was a grievous time. People flocked to the hospital to give their respects. To say goodbye. To offer comfort. Doctors told my husband to say goodbye to me multiple times.
People say that the ventilator kept me alive. People are saying that a lot right now because of Covid-19. Hospitals need ventilators to breathe for people and keep them alive. But the source of life will never be a ventilator.
The LORD kills and brings to life; he brings down to Sheol and raises up.
1 Samuel 2:6
When you need a ventilator they have to restrain you so you don’t do something stupid while you’re heavily sedated. (Like I did when I self extubated and should have died…you can read more about that fun story here.) And the Church has definitely been restrained. Public gatherings have been shut down.
Jesus has shown me the Church as it gasps for breath. In these wretched days, a ventilator seems like the only thing that will keep us alive, whether we’ve gotten sick or not. Bills need to be paid. Congregations need comfort and encouragement. How can any of this happen while we practice social distancing? Zoom can’t be our new normal, can it? It’s just a stop gap, right? Until we can breathe on our own again, right?
But, wait a second. Are we even supposed to be breathing on our own?
Jesus Christ is the breath of life.
When I self-extubated my lungs should have collapsed. Instead I began to breathe “on my own.” But here’s a news flash, folks: I know full well I wasn’t breathing on my own. Jesus breathed for me.
I pray that the beautiful body of Christ would stop looking for ventilators. I know it seems logical. I know it makes sense from human standards. I know that a ventilator kept me alive last Summer. But Jesus showed me that He alone keeps me alive. He alone is my breath. He alone is our breath.
“Do you think that’s air you’re breathing now?” ~ Morpheus, The Matrix (1999)
Maybe being extubated is exactly what we need. We know right now that we can’t breathe on our own. We just can’t. All the things we keep doing are helpful, even encouraging to us. We want to do something. We need to do something. It helps us feel like we are contributing to the life of the Church still somehow. If we keep those tubes of action in place we don’t have to die.
Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
Zoom and Facebook and YouTube have been useful and beautiful. Wanting to live has value! And these tools have shown us what matters and what doesn’t. My prayer is that they don’t become just another way for us to live without Jesus.
I can tell you, I shouldn’t be alive. Not by human wisdom. But Jesus could care less about human wisdom, and so I am alive.
Can we trust Him in this? Can we look to the Breath of Life for our resuscitation? Can we trust Him? Will we trust Him?
Lord, thank you for Zoom and Facebook. Thank you for exhorters and encouragers who say hard things. Thank you for teachers and pastors who tenderly show us the Word of Life and offer us comfort. Thank you for servants who weep for our needs in prayer and give beyond their means financially to support the Church. Thank you, Father, that each member is a part of one body, Your Body. Thank you that each of us brings something unique and beautiful to this mess that is the Church. Help us to love one another and consider others higher than ourselves. Let us love without judgment. Let us trust that You are working even when we can’t seem to work together or have opposing points of view. You are on Your Throne and that is something that we can all agree with. Bring us unity. Restore Your Church, Heavenly Father. Bring Jesus back. Set things right once and for all. Breathe for us, Daddy. Amen.