Take a deep breath. Now take another. Keep breathing as you consider these facts:

·     An adult at rest breathes about 17,280 to 23,040 times a day at 12 to 16 breaths per minute. Adults breathe about 6.3 to 8.4 million breaths per year.  (Source: reference.com)

·     Multiply this figure by 7.7 billion, which is the estimated human population on earth. That is a staggering amount of breaths!

·     Now add in all the living things—plants, animals, birds, fish, insects, even microscopic creatures—that take in the air each moment, continually, each day of every year.

It is breathtaking (pun intended!) to think about the amount of air needed to sustain life on earth. There is a vast supply of air that we all share, and every atom and molecule of it comes from God’s hand.  I, for one, am thankful that God is not stingy about providing breathable air on planet earth!

God is open-handed! One Psalmist joyfully sang to God as he recounted the reality of God’s provision:

“You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.” (Psalm 145:16)

God provides every resource—air, water, food, energy, and more— for our existence. He even created humans with intellect, creativity, and abilities to care for these resources, as well as re-shape and craft them for shelters, clothing, transportation, and countless other things to enjoy.

It is a good thing—spiritually, emotionally, and physically—to remind ourselves that God thinks of us each moment and opens His hand to provide for us. Psalm 104 beautifully recounts God’s open-handed provision for all creatures. Here are some passages from it, even as I encourage you to open up a Bible, read and reflect on the entire psalm:

“You set earth on a firm foundation…You blanketed earth with ocean…You started the springs and rivers, sent them flowing among the hills. You water the mountains from your heavenly cisterns; earth is supplied with plenty of water. What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at your side, made earth overflow with your wonderful creations. All the creatures look expectantly to you, and you give them their meals on time. You come, and they gather around; you open your hand and they eat from it.”  (Excerpts from Psalm 104, The Message)

But God’s open-handedness doesn’t stop there. In His earthly ministry, Jesus often opened his hand to forgive, heal, and restore people. They were cured of spiritual and physical blindness, crippling diseases of the heart and body, and even brought back from death to life.

However, by far, the most important and profound event of all history was the day when Jesus opened his hand to receive the nails of the cross he bore for the sins of humanity—you and me.  With Jesus’ death, the eternal price for our sins and failings was paid in full. When he rose from the dead three days later, His hands were open to offer eternal life to any and all who received Him by faith.

I am grateful beyond description that Jesus opened His hands on the cross so that I could be forgiven and given a new life and forever-sealed place in God’s favored presence. A.W. Tozer put it this way:

“Our Lord sees how bad we are, but He is the Lord of all mercy and does not care. In His great kindness, He takes rebels and unrighteous sinners, and make them His own and establishes them in righteousness and renews a right spirit within them. His righteousness becomes their righteousness…” (A.W. Tozer, from “The Pursuit of Man”)

God is open-handed. I pray that we will also be open-handed to receive Jesus and the free gift He offers.  We can then open our hands to serve and help others spiritually and materially.

God bless you!

Chris Atkins