My Mom has told me stories of when I was a little girl fighting an asthma attack. She would sit by my bedside and will me to "Breathe." I can imagine she would whisper "Breathe" over and over, watching carefully my little chest as it struggled to take in the air I needed to live. Now that I have been a Mom, I can imagine the terror it would bring to her as she waited those eternal seconds before another breath would fill my lungs. How many long nights did she sit watching? I don't know, but one would be enough.
Anyone who has sat near a loved ones bedside as they made their last few breaths before leaving this life behind, can also attest to the desire to be able to will them the next breath. There are times, however, when the desire is for it all to be over. for the next breath to be the last so the pain and agony would be finished.
I have felt the desire to stop the breathing. I was again attacked by asthma as an adult after many years of freedom from its torture. I waited impatiently for the doctor and silently prayed for the end of breathing because it hurt so much. I am glad that I did not succomb, but I know the feeling of wanting to give up the pain for peace.
I wonder if Jesus wanted the pain to stop as He struggled to breathe on the cross. Did He have to suffer a certain amount of time in order for the sacrifice to be accomplished? Could He have given up the Spirit sooner to stop the pain? Would He?
The torture of gasping for breath on the cross must have seemed far longer for Jesus than the three hours He suffered. Even from the cross, Jesus had things to say and work to do for the people He loves. He needed to forgive, provide, love and finish the work He was meant to do. Because of that, He continued to breathe. How many breaths did He struggle to take in those last hours? Each one was a precious gift to us, as precious as the first breath He took as a tiny baby from heaven. His life was lived so that He could die the holy sacrifice for our sins, for my sins.
Holy Jesus, Sacrificial Lamb of God, Your every breath on this earth was a gift to the entire world. Your life was lived with the purpose of loving mankind. Thank You for making it possible for me to believe in You. Forgive me when I forget that Your need for air and water and food, was all for my good. Help me to use my need for air,water and food for Your glory, Lord, it is the least I can do.