At times in life we find ourselves in very, very interesting situations, unexpectedly. I remember getting some pizzas with my dad when my parents were visiting from Oklahoma. We picked up the pizzas and were headed back to the church to have dinner with friends. I typically enter the Fellowship Hall through the front doors, but this night I entered through the back doors. Now, my dad had not yet been in our church and so he didn’t know his way around. He was supposed to lead me through the front doors of the Fellowship Hall. Why? Because it was filled with people throwing me a surprise birthday party, but I didn’t know it. So I led my dad through the back way, trying to be clever and we entered the Fellowship Hall through the back doors. No one saw us come in because they were all intensively watching the front doors. I found myself in an unexpected, yet pleasant place.
But sometimes we don’t end up in unexpected places that are pleasant. Sometimes we find ourselves in the middle of something we never bargained for, asked for, or even imagined we’d ever experience. You look around in shock and are speechless. The tears just begin to flow. The emotional pain is so strong that it feels physical. Sometimes the situations aren’t that intense. Sometimes we find ourselves in situations that aren’t so much painful as they are confusing. We put our hands on top of our heads and are just blown away or we just stare in deep thought bantering with ourselves on what decision to make, how to deal with this situation.
Scripture gives us a great story about a man who was a prophet of the Lord. He found himself in a place that he could never imagine he would be. Just being there was a shock, but knowing that God Himself led him to this place was even more confusing! God led this man, Ezekiel, to a valley that was full of very dry bones, and set him in smack-dab in the middle of them all. These were bones that once belonged to thousands of living people; but now they are dead and had been dead for quite some time. As Ezekiel looked around he must have felt sorry for the dead and he must have thought to himself, “there is absolutely no life here.” Imagine standing in the middle of a valley completely full the bones of dead people. Creepy. What would go through your mind? Think about it. How sad. But then God asks Ezekiel an interesting question. God asks Ezekiel, “can these bones live?”
Now this seems at the forefront to be an ridiculous question, except…except that it is God who is asking the question. If Ezekiel had a friend standing beside him and asked whether or not these bones could live, Ezekiel probably would have laughed it off or committed him to the local psych ward. But it was God who was asking. The God who created the world and every living, breathing creature within it. So Ezekiel answers this question perfectly. Ezekiel answered, “O Lord God, you know.” Ezekiel doesn’t presume to know what God will or will not do with His abilities and doesn’t pretend to assume anything. What Ezekiel knows, and it’s the only thing he knows, is that he is standing in a place that appears to have no hope but God can bring life if He chooses to. Only God knows. The rest of the story is fascinating; God causes the bones to come together, then flesh appeared on them, and then He gave them the breath of life and they lived again!
Only God knows your feelings and your circumstances. God may have even led you to the place of suffering you are right now. Some of your lives are full of dry bones and there’s no signs of life or signs that life will ever appear again. Perhaps you’re losing or have lost a marriage, a friendship, a relationship. Or maybe you were once close to God, intimately close, but now your walk with Christ…well, you wouldn’t really consider it a walk anymore it’s so dry. We all have dry bones in our lives today, yes today. But let me ask you the same question God asked Ezekiel: can these bones live? Listen, there is hope in God alone. God may or may not restore your relationship or your situation, but listen, He can if He wants to. So what does that mean for you? It means that you mentally approach your valley of dry bones differently than before. It means that you turn your heart, your faith, your trust, and your hopes to Him alone and not in your hoped-for results. Can these bones live? How will you respond to that question today? I hope you will only say, O Lord God, you know, then prayerfully and faithfully leave it in His hands as you fully trust Him. And our prayer is that he would bring the dry bones together, put meat on them, and breath life back into them. Trust Him today.
Scriture: Ezekiel 37:1-14