When I jumped out of an airplane at around 14,500 feet above sea level and traveling at a speed over 100 miles per hour, the last thing I expected was silence, yet that is exactly what happened to me. The sensation of feeling nothing but nearly three miles of empy space below suddenly made the world go quiet. I left the plane and I heard nothing. There was no wind, no sounds of the plane’s engine, no screaming. Absolute silence. Looking through the cloudless sky below and seeing the dots of farms and houses, the faint flashes of the sun reflecting off the streams and lakes spread before me as I saw the curve of the planet fade the landscape into a haze, I took deep breath, a long inhale like you would take before diving to the bottom of a pool. That intake of air was the only sound I heard in the silence. Then an instant later, the rush of wind and sound destroyed the silence and I plummeted to the earth with a smile on my face.
A deep breath is one of your body’s physiological ways of preparing itself for what’s coming, a natural response to the unknown that gives your heart and lungs the extra blood and oxygen they need. It’s a way of giving your vial organs a little something extra to survive. When you think back on the human experience, a deep breath almost always comes before a leap of faith or a personal risk. Looking back on my own life, it’s full of deep breaths before big moments: the first time I asked a girl out, my first job interview, the first time I ever told someone I loved them, the list goes on. In almost every instance, this happened before I willingly put myself in someone else’s hands, giving them the power to destroy me.
When skydiving, I willingly put my life in other’s hands. It was a literal leap of faith, and I was taking deep breaths left and right. After the whole experience, I thought back on the amount of faith I had put in complete strangers, and I wondered why it was often so hard to do the same with God.
Throughout scripture the term “breath of life” is seen, or there are instances of God “breathing” life into something or someone (Adam in Genesis 2 is a prime example). God literally breathed life into this universe, and if we put this in more personal terms, every breath we take is a gift from God, the literal “breath-giver”. When I think about how our body naturally takes a deep breath to prepare it for something, why does it seem so hard to take a sort of “spiritual deep breath” to prepare us for life? God is the giver of life, and yet we don’t take him in and ask for his strength and guidance before doing something on our own. This is like trying to dive to bottom of the pool without air in our lungs, yet we dive into the world most days without a fresh dose of God in our hearts.
I’m coming into a stage of life where big decisions are going to have to be made, and I don’t want to take any leaps of faith without first taking in the life that God offers. I need to trust and rely on him. If we really believe God is the giver of life, we need to breathe as much of him in as possible. That tank will never run out and never leave us wanting. We just have to reach for it and trust in it.