Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Art of Breathing

For the past few months, I've been having some sort of issue with my back muscles. I'm not sure exactly how to describe the feeling, but it's a little bit like the fibers in my back suddenly tear from each other.

"You need to get that checked out, sir."

First of all, I'm offended that you would tell me what to do. I am my own man. Or something.

Second of all, I'm not really big into getting things "checked out," for the main reason that the doctor usually can't find anything without extensive testing. And when I say testing, I mean the whole bit: MRI's, blood work, etc. And I ain't about that life. I'll take the open air over getting put in a skinny cylinder that looks like a tube of toothpaste any day. But I should probably take your advice. Sometimes, the ripping pain will happen while I'm doing crazy things, like a jump serve in volleyball or while I'm riding my longboard. 

"You obviously pulled it."

Listen, I'm getting tired of your shenanigans. Can you just listen to me this one time? As I was saying, the ripping pain doesn't just happen in moments of action. It's also happened while sitting at Chick-Fil-A or while walking through my kitchen. Unprovoked. And when it happens, it often hurts so bad that it becomes hard to breathe. It's as if expanding my chest is the last thing I want to do, so breathing becomes a pretty heavy task.

But I'm not the only one who had problems breathing.

Studies have been done that have tried to replicate what it would have been like to be crucified by the Romans during their golden age. The Roman executioners were highly specialized in the art of torture, and they knew exactly how to beat you within an inch of your life, making death a better friend than the excruciating life you're experiencing.

Part of this skill was the way the cross was set up. The only way you could breathe on a cross is to push up on the nail that was going through your feet. This essentially meant that you had two options:

1. Breathe.
2. Endure indescribable pain.

You could only pick one. Something about all this reminds me of a saying about a rock and a hard place. And yet, for Him, it was neither.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12)
The joy? What!? I'm sorry, but that doesn't make a lick of sense. Who on earth would joyfully go through crucifixion?

It was Christ's joy because He knew that it was all for you. Every push up on that nail was His way of expressing His love for you. The same God who breathed life into Adam was using every one of His breaths as proof that He would do anything to get you into His family. And so now you stand, redeemed by the diaphragm of Jesus, breathing life because He decided to be your Rescue Inhaler.


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