Drive slow and breathe deep
By: Lt. Colonel Dean Hinson
As we collectively combat the chaos of COVID-19, I thought I would set aside those aspects of spiritual life development and provide this message of thanks and encouragement in these difficult days.
First, I would like to say thank you to all the soldiers, officers, employees and volunteers who are facing the challenges of this pandemic with grace and innovation. Whether you are sheltering in place, staying home, in disaster mode – providing assistance in new and different ways to stay safe, and/or coming up with creative ways to be the Church in these difficult days, thank you for what you are doing. We are faced with new and changing challenges. I am very proud of you – The Salvation Army.
There is a phrase that applies to these troubled times. When on vacation in Maine, we came to a sign as we traveled through the deep forest returning to our lodging. I slowed the car down, rolled down the window and followed the instructions – “Drive Slow and Breathe Deep.” These crazy days have caused many of us to slow down, and we are learning that deep breaths have a calming effect on what we are going through.
God’s Word has much to say about “breath,” beginning with God breathing into the dust and providing life to Adam (Genesis 2:7, Then the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person.) to the risen Jesus appearing to the disciples, afraid behind locked doors, and breathing on them (John 20:22, Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit”).
During very difficult days of exile, when the people were losing hope – wondering if God had forsaken them, the prophet Ezekiel was taken to a valley filled with bones. He said they were scattered everywhere and that they were completely dried out – signifying a great disaster of death void of any possibility of life. He was told to prophesy to the bones and say, “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Look! I am going to put breath into you and make you live again! I will put flesh and muscle on you and cover you with skin. I will put breath into you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord” (Ezekiel 37:5-6). And when the Lord called the breath from the four winds into these dead bodies, we are told that “they all came to life and stood on their feet – a great army!”
Whether it is the dark days following the crucifixion of Christ, or the chaos and challenges of a COVID-19 pandemic, or the terrifying truth of exile – God says do not lose hope. My breath brings life!
Slow down and breathe deep! May you experience God’s blessing in the midst of this crisis.