The Holy Spirit's Heimlich Maneuver"

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

"I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. . . . You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again.'" John 3:5-7, NIV.

We were celebrating with relatives at a Mexican restaurant. Suddenly Oscar stood up, bent over the table, and moved his mouth as if to talk. His hand went to his throat and his eyes looked wild.

They call it a "café coronary." It's when someone gets a piece of food lodged in their windpipe and can't get a breath. At first glance it looks like a heart attack. But it isn't. And without prompt help, the person has only about four minutes to live.

Dr. Henry Heimlich in 1974 described the emergency treatment that would save a person who was choking, and today thousands all over the world owe their lives to this innovative physician. Oscar does too.

My husband recognized the problem immediately. "He's choking," he screamed. Jumping up, he slipped behind Oscar, grabbed him around his midriff, clutched his hands in a fist, and yanked upward toward his chest. Oscar coughed out a tiny piece of food, took a breath, and gratefully collapsed on the seat. It was a close call.

Jan used the Heimlich maneuver to save Oscar's life. It forces the diaphragm to curve upward into the chest, creating a rush of air pressure through the windpipe where the food has lodged, enabling it to be coughed out.

In a way it was like being born again. For a time Oscar had a desperate struggle that he was powerless to win by himself. Then with help—the Heimlich maneuver—Oscar received a second chance at life.

We're all in a desperate struggle for our lives—choking on sin. It doesn't matter what it is: murder, adultery, gambling, pornography, slander, gossip, envy, pride, overeating, selfishness. Any violation of God's moral or natural law is sin. Anything that takes priority in our lives above our allegiance and honor to God blocks our windpipe to salvation.

But God has a "Heimlich maneuver" to save us. It's called being born again. With the Holy Spirit's help, the sin we're choking on can be knocked out of our lives, and we can once again breathe God's lifesaving air.

Ask the Holy Spirit to convict you of your sins, repent, and then enjoy the breath of fresh air the Holy Spirit will bring to your life. You can be born again—and enter God's kingdom.


Used by permission of Health Ministries, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.


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