Can you remember a time when you got the breath knocked out of you? It is a scary moment when your brain tells you to breathe, but your body says, “I can’t!”
Many have had a moment like that. When you realize that, if you can’t take a breath, you will go unconscious. I can vividly remember a time that I was unconscious and in my mind was thinking, “You have to wake up, or you will die!” It was a strange feeling to have my mind working but my body not cooperating. My will was to wake up, but I had no power or control over what was happening to me.
Life can be like that can’t it? Circumstances come that are out of our control. We love to dream, to plan, and take charge of our own life. Only it’s not our own. Life is a gift from God. He created us and He is the one who gave us breath.
“Then the Lord formed the man out of the dust from the ground and breathed the breath of life into his nostrils, and the man became a living being.” Genesis 2:7
Just a few weeks ago, I was privileged to watch as our thirteenth grandchild took her first breath. Having birthed four children of my own, the experience brought back so many emotions. The awe and wonder of a new life entering the world never gets old for me. This precious baby was a gift from God, and it would not surprise you to hear me say that, and no one could ever convince me otherwise.
What might surprise you is what I would say about an event that took place just four weeks prior to our granddaughter, Evelyn’s birth:
Knowing that my father would not live long, I sat between his bed and my mother, who was eating her lunch, oblivious. She has dementia and couldn’t comprehend what was happening. She knew something was wrong, but couldn’t remember why they were there or what was wrong with Dad. To this point, I had to just keep telling her that he was sick, his kidneys were failing and that he wasn’t doing well. Not knowing how long he had, I kept it simple because her memory wouldn’t contain it. That morning I had to tell her he was dying.
I had only been there a couple of hours when I saw my father take his last breath. Something that I will never forget, it is a privilege I will forever be thankful for. While that may seem a strange thing to say, I want to share why it is true.
Life is precious. Whether it is the first cry of a newborn baby or the last breath of a dying man, every second of a life created by God is a gift. Compared to eternity, we are given only a few short years in this life and what we do here determines what we will do for eternity. The God of the universe created each of us for a purpose. He planned for us before we were ever born, and every person has value–not based on their own merit, but because God tells us that He created us in His image and for His purpose.
“Your eyes saw me when I was formless;
all my days were written in Your book and planned
before a single one of them began.” Psalm 139:16
So what does this have to do with Easter? Everything.
Easter tells us the story. From those verses in Genesis where it all began, to the final chapter that was written to prepare us for the future, God reveals Himself in the story. He shows us the how and the why. How He created us is not a mystery or a coincidence. His creation was deliberate and for a purpose. Why would He create? It’s His nature. He is the Master Creator. Why us? He designed this world and everything in it to declare His glory. We can experience His presence in the birth of a newborn babe and in the death of a loved one. Both are a privilege, because in both I sensed His presence. I knew that life and death were in His hands. He was the One ushering Evie into the world, and He was the One taking Dad into eternity.
The story didn’t end at creation. God the Father created us, but we fell. We allowed sin to control us instead of Him. Sin separated us from a Holy God who longed for His creation to return to Him, so He provided the way. He sent Jesus.
So why did Jesus have to die? Because the punishment for our sin, the result of our fall, was death. God wanted us to live with Him forever, but sin destroyed that hope. Until Jesus came. He took the penalty for our sin. For my sin. For yours. He died in our place and gave us a pardon. The price was paid, full and free–but not without responsibility.
Our response to this gift can only be one of two: Accept Him–or reject His offer of forgiveness and eternal life. Jesus death paid the price and His resurrection revealed the power of the gift.
Believing the story of Easter has to be more than accepting an event in history–it is accepting that the God of the universe stepped into this world to provide a way for us to enter the next one. From your first breath to your last, He is pursuing you. His desire for you is greater than any desire you have for yourself. His victory over death gives us the victory we need in this life, and the promise of a new one after we take our last breath on this earth.
Don’t let Easter just be a story–let it define your story. If you want to know what the Bible says about how you can know that you have eternal life, just click on this link where I explain it further: FAITH
“The God who made the world and everything in it—He is Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in shrines made by hands. Neither is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives everyone life and breath and all things.” Acts 17:24-25