God holds your breath in His hand …. Daniel 5: 23(b).
On an average an adult man/ woman takes 20000 breaths per day. It’s an involuntary action which often goes unnoticed in our daily activities. But if for a moment, we are to hold our breath , then we know how much we struggle for air. This is because the oxygen in the air we breathe in highly essential to sustain our life. So how often does all of this in and out breathing take place? It depends upon your age and activity level. Children tend to have more rapid breathing rates. For example, newborn babies often breathe 30-60 times per minute. Toddlers might breathe 20-30 times per minute. Older children and adults, when resting, usually breathe about 12-20 times per minute. Over the course of a day, that adds up to 17,000-30,000 breaths per day — or more! . The day we take our last breath, we die. As the moment of death approaches, the person’s breathing may slow down and become irregular. It might stop and then start again or there might be long pauses or stops between breaths. This is sometimes known as Cheyne-Stokes breathing. The breath and the spirit that God gave us ( Isaiah 5:5(b)) returns to the Creator ( Ecclesiastes 12:7).
Our breaths are counted and decided by the Creator before He formed in our mother’s womb. That’s why Psalmist David says in Psalm 139 vs.13-16, ” For You formed my inner parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb…..My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skilfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet informed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me…”.
Indeed man is a wonderful creation. Starting with two individual cells from both the parents , each with 23 chromosomes fusing together to form a single cell called the zygote with 46 chromosomes. It then starts dividing and multiplying and continue the process of division and multiplication to form an embryo and then the foetus , ultimately ending into an adult human body consisting of over 30 trillion cells.
While the cells are the body’s unit blocks, it is the DNA ( Deoxyribonucleic that unlocks the mystery of who we are and why we exist. The DNA is the biological key that makes each person unique. It stores information about our physical traits like gender, hair colour, height, behaviour patterns etc.
Each and every cell in our body requires oxygen for its function.Our body needs oxygen to obtain energy to fuel all our living processes. Carbon dioxide is a waste product of that process. We get our oxygen from the air we breathe.
I happened to see a very emotional message doing the rounds in WhatsApp. It’s of an old man in Italy, who had recovered from Covid 19 and was getting discharged from the hospital, when the doctor handed him his bill for settlement. While going through the bill, the 73 year old man started crying. The doctor tried to console him and told him that if it’s regarding his inability to pay the hospital bill, he could help him by talking to the hospital management. But the old man said that he could pay the bill in full, and wasn’t crying out of his financial inability, but out of his guilt. He said to the doctor, “you have billed me 5000 Euros for a day’s usage of the ventilator through which I was able to breathe and sustain my life. But, how much do I owe God for the oxygen that I was breathing free for all these 73 years? And I have never been grateful to Him, and that guilt made me cry”.
This is exactly what Daniel told Belshazzar, the King of Babylon when he was called to interpret the Writing on the wall as it is written in the Bible in the Book of Daniel, chapter 5. In verse Daniel tells the king, ‘ you have not glorified the God who holds your breath in His hand and owns all your ways’.
Friends, are we not like the old man mentioned above? We very often take our life for granted. We never take time to stop for a moment and think of the immense ways God has been taking care of us all through our life . The year 2020 will come to an end in a few days time. This year has been a terrible year for all of us all over the world with the Covid 19 pandemic taking several lives. I too lost a couple of my friends to the virus. This pandemic has changed the way we live and experts say that life will not be the same again. If we are still taking our life for granted and continue to live without being grateful to God who has breathed His breath and spirit into us, then we are the most unfortunate lot. So friends, let’s be grateful to God and sing with the Psalmist, ” Let everything that has breath praise the Lord” ( Psalm 150:6), because our breath is a Gift of God.