Thursday, December 13, 2012

Breath of Heaven

Luke 1:26-38

Breathing is a natural thing.  We've been doing it since we came into this world.  What happens thought, when events or life circumstances stop you in your tracks and suddenly breathing becomes something you have to think about?  I know what that feels like-stress and anxiety and what once was natural feels a little unnatural.  Think about it.  How often do you find yourself stressed and you realize you may have been holding your breath or you're at the doctor's for a checkup and he says, "Breathe naturally".  When I begin to think about it, I can't breathe naturally anymore.  It's funny how breathing, just breathing becomes difficult to do, especially when our world turns upside down.

In Luke 1:28, Gabriel says to Mary, "The Lord is with you," and Mary was greatly troubled.  Imagine being by yourself, quietly involved in something and being visited by an angel.  He tells her something that is beyond anything she has ever dreamed.  She hears the news that she will give birth and Gabriel tells her the baby will be Great, Son of the Most High, and His kingdom will last forever and ever.  I call that life altering, don't you?

Confused, Mary asks, "How can this be?" and Gabriel explains how she will conceive and her response is simple.  Verse 38 says, "I am the Lord's servant.  May your word to me be fulfilled."  Such momentous news and such humble acceptance has inspired many over the years to look at Mary in awe and wonder.  How could such a young girl be so mature in her faith.  How amazing she must have woefully inadequate I am in comparison.

Amy Grant's song, Breath of Heaven, is the songwriter's interpretation of Mary's thoughts as she awaits the birth of her son, Jesus.  Here we see someone who is questioning why she was chosen, how she will cope, and what it means for her future.  Look at these words....

I am waiting in a silent prayer.
I am frightened by the load I bear.
In a world as cold as stone,
Must I walk this path alone?
Be with me now.
Be with me now.

Breath of Heaven,
Hold me together,
Be forever near me,
Breath of Heaven
Breath of Heaven,
Lighten my darkness,
Pour over me your holiness,
For you are holy.
Breath of Heaven

Yes, Mary said, "I am the Lord's servant.  May your word to me be fulfilled."  But, that didn't mean she wasn't afraid and that doesn't mean she didn't question her part in God's plan or feel inadequate and unworthy.  We can only imagine her thoughts and her worries since they are not written down for us.  We can put ourselves in her shoes and think how we might have we might have responded.

The song continues....

Do you wonder as you watch my face,
If a wiser one should have had my place,
But I offer all I am,
For the mercy of your plan.
Help me be strong.
Help me be.
Help me.

Sometimes our cries to the Lord don't go beyond that.  Help me.  Help me.

Last week, I had news that two of my high school friends have breast cancer.  Got the word on the same day and my heart broke for them and their families.  Their lives are changed and perhaps they are having trouble remembering to breathe right now.  Some of you reading this have had similar conversations with your doctors recently.  News that has cut right to your heart in its immensity and meaning for your future.  Perhaps your response, like Mary's was, "How can this be?"

Gabriel says THIS to Mary in verse 37.  "No word from God will ever fail."  I have read this chapter over and over since I was old enough to read and I don't think I've ever really let those words soak into me before.  "No word from God will ever fail."  The King James version says it this way.  "For with God nothing is impossible."  God keeps his Mary and to us here 2000 years later.  He promises to never leave us and forsake us.  He promises to walk with us through the fire and the floods so we won't be burned and we won't drown.  He promises to be the right hand that holds us up when we can't go on....when we forget how to breathe, HE will be our breath.  Job 33:4 says, "The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life.  Gabriel says, "No word from God will ever fail."  Ever!

So, as you face your life changing news, whatever it is or is to be, remember the words of Mary and the angel Gabriel and find the hope and the courage to go on.

Breath of Heaven
Hold me together
Be forever near me,
Breath of Heaven