I have been thinking a lot about breathing recently.  I don’t think I’m alone in this.  In fact, the civil unrest that our country has experienced was spurred on by “I can’t breathe.”  The COVID-19 pandemic often impacts a person’s ability to breath.  The mask debate seems to stem in part because it is hard and unpleasant to breathe while wearing one.

The last song in the song book of the Bible is a Hallel song or a “Praise the Lord” song.  In this season of thanksgiving, this song invites us to use our breath to praise and thank our Lord.

Praise the Lord!
Praise God in His sanctuary,
praise him in his mighty heavens!
Praise him for his mighty deeds,
praise him according to his excellent greatness!
Praise him with trumpet sound,
praise him with lute and harp!
Praise him with tambourine and dance,
praise him with strings and pipe!
Praise him with sounding cymbal,
praise him with loud clashing cymbals!
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord!

I am not a betting man, but I would be willing to wager that you and I cannot remember the last time we praised the Lord for His gift of breath.  We all know that our breath comes from Him and when it is time for our divine appointment with the Lord, our breath goes back to Him.  Why is it that we don’t regularly thank Him for it?  I suggest that one of the reasons is because everyone alive gets it!  Things that everyone gets often become things we think we are entitled to have—they are our right!  And, yet, every minute God gives each of us at least 12 breaths from the time we get our first breath from Him until our last breath that goes back to Him.

That’s right!  On an average each of us takes 12 to 18 breaths per minute.  You can do the math:  12 x 60=720 breaths per hour; 720 x 24=17,280 breaths per day; 17,280 x 365=6,307,200 breaths per year.  Now take your age and multiply how old you are by 6,307,200.  In my lifetime, I have breathed at least 400 million times.  Because of how our Creator has beautifully and wisely designed our lungs, each breath gets filtered by small hairs and mucus through our breathing tract and enters our two lungs where anywhere from 300 million to 600 million little round sacs called alveoli extract the oxygen from the breath and oxygenate our blood so that we can function as His imago dei!

I think that helps me understand more deeply why “everything that has breath” should praise the Lord. Hallelujah!

– President Dave Ley