By Rev. David Cameron
I’ve been thinking about breath lately. It’s a topic that comes up frequently for singers and choir directors, as singing requires proper breathing and breath control to create a consistent and steady sound. The breath I’ve been reflecting on is one I haven’t experienced in a while. It’s the breath known as second wind. It was long ago, but once upon a time, I was an athlete. Before some knee injuries caught up with me, I played football, basketball, baseball, tennis, and was on a roller hockey team. I was in good shape, and I enjoyed running, just for the joy of running.
In High School I reached the point in distance running that I was more limited by the time I had to run than by any other factors. I’d run to the point of feeling I couldn’t go any farther…and then just keep going. And if I kept going long enough, I’d catch my second wind. It was surprising, odd and wonderful. After thinking I’d reached the end of my run, I suddenly felt fresh, energetic, and ready to keep on going at least as far as I’d already come.
I don’t know if Paul was an athlete, but he understood a lot about running. In Hebrews 12:1 He encourages us all, “to run with perseverance the race that is set before us…” Not flare, not speed, but perseverance. Often the most important part of running is just taking that next stride, moving ahead to the next marker, pushing towards the finish. We never find our second wind until we have used up all of our first.
Psalm 33:6 Reminds us, “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and all their host by the breath of his mouth.”
God runs with us, encouraging us on, being the very breath that empowers life in us and all of creation. If we continue to run with perseverance and trust, God will be there with a much needed second wind to renew us. And that continually renewing breath will carry us all the way home.
When I feel like I’ve run to the end of myself and what I can do, I like to spend some time looking up at the stars and remembering that the same breath that called all the heavens into being blows through me.
Our second wind is waiting. Run with perseverance and hope.