God’s love holds you up
For quite a while now, I have been fascinated by wind. Our pastor talks sometimes about “ruach,” (ROO-awck) the Hebrew word that means “wind,” “breath,” or “spirit.” I read that it was used over 400 times in the Bible. (You can see some lists of verses here and here.) My favorite one is Genesis 1:2, “The Ruach of God was hovering over the surface of the waters,” which we typically see as “Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” Frequently “ruach” is translated as the Spirit of God.
Water, I have been told, is often used in the Bible to signify chaos, so perhaps Genesis 1:2 is speaking of the Spirit of God hovering over the chaos that existed before creation. That is a meaningful, good understanding to take from the verse. But I get a lot of personal joy, or maybe you could call it comfort, or maybe just a warm and fuzzy feeling by imagining a huge body of water, like the ocean, with this invisible oblong shape hovering several inches above the waves, moving back and forth, side to side. And, being invisible, you know the shape is there because of the disturbance in the water of just that shape. Can you see it?
I have another favorite image for ruach, or wind, in The Silver Chair, by C.S. Lewis. I have been thinking about this image for probably a year or more. I would google it and not find it, flip through a couple Narnia books and not find it, then give up a while and try again later. Finally a few days ago, I made a concentrated effort, looking through each Narnia book carefully for this scene, with Aslan [the lion, representing God] and Jill standing on a cliff far from the land of Narnia:
“Please, how am I to get to Narnia?” [Jill asked.]
“On my breath,” said the Lion. “I will blow you into the west of the world as I blew Eustace.”
… “Stand still. In a moment I will blow…And now, Daughter of Eve, farewell---”
The voice had been growing softer towards the end of this speech and now it faded away altogether. Jill looked behind her. To her astonishment she saw the cliff already more than a hundred yards behind her, and the Lion himself a speck of bright gold on the edge of it. She had been setting her teeth and clenching her fists for a terrible blast of lion’s breath; but the breath had really been so gentle that she had not even noticed the moment at which she left the earth. And now there was nothing but air for thousands upon thousands of feet below her.
… Floating on the breath of the Lion was so extremely comfortable. She found she could lie on her back or on her face and twist any way she pleased, just as you can in water...and the air seemed beautifully warm...There was no noise and no vibration.”
Later Jill “lay back on the air as if it was a sofa” and fell asleep.
I love imagining myself lying on Aslan’s breath, comfortable, warm, relying completely on his ability to hold me up.
When I was 11, my family visited my my aunt’s family in Connecticut. We went to “the shore” one day. I still could not swim. I had taken swimming lessons several times and had learned all the right moves to stroke through the water, turning your head to breathe, and so on, but I just could not bring myself to actually swim. I did not believe the water would hold me up. I imagined myself sinking, sinking, struggling, and drowning.
This day at the beach, there were a lot of people, including a myriad of little children, happily swimming all around. Here I was a big, tall 11-year-old and there were all these tiny ankle-biters showing me up. I was embarrassed. I decided this was the day I was going to finally, truly swim! I went to where the water was up to my chin. I wanted as much water as possible underneath me but also to be able to stand up if that water failed to hold me up -- as I was very much afraid it would. Then, I tried to calm my pounding heart, took a few deep breaths, pushed my feet off the bottom, let my body fall, and lie on top of the water. It worked! The water held me up!
We can rest on God. His love holds us up.
love and blessings,
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