By the time anyone noticed, she had been underwater for way too long. They hauled her out and laid her out on the dock, her body a dark purple color, her eyes lifeless. I watched as a med student kneeled over her and began CPR. When she took her first breath, when the color of her body began to chameleon back to its normal hue, when she came back to life, the process seemed miraculous. I’ve been present as each of my two children were born and took their first breath. This was like that, except that in her case, no one expected she would ever breathe again. I’m guessing, if anyone ever asks that young girl about the best gift she ever received, she would say it was the gift of life itself.
We are so used to being alive we actually take life for granted. It is all we’ve ever known. We also take spiritual death as the norm. It is all we have ever known. Spiritual death is the condition of being disconnected from the Spirit of God. Designed and created to be filled with God’s Spirit, we have been cut off since Adam’s Fall. Since we are born in this condition, we initially don’t notice anything wrong. It’s like being born blind and not discovering until later on that we were supposed to be able to see. But eventually we do sense a problem. We sense that something is missing. What’s missing is real, full life, the life of the Spirit in us. We cannot fix it, anymore than anyone could perform CPR on themselves. Spiritually speaking, we are as dead as that girl laid out on the dock.
But check out this amazing good news:
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.
We gasp for spiritual breath in many ways, often with no real understanding that what we seek is life itself. God, the Giver of every good and perfect gift reaches down through eternity and offers to give us “birth,” birth into eternal, spiritual life. How so? Through His Son, Jesus, the One Who is the “Word of Truth.” Those who accept this gift by faith, become like the first harvest of fruit in the orchard, the first tomatoes on the vine, the first grain in the field. The difference between fruit and the plant on which it grows is that there is continuing life in the fruit. So too with those who have been given the eternal life of God’s Spirit through their faith in Jesus.