Imagine walking among signs of death. Of undeniable lifelessness. Joy sucked out. Hope dried up.
It doesn’t take long for the mind to imagine such a scene and the heart becomes filled with sorrow and despair.
And many, if not all of us don’t even have to imagine. We’ve gone through, or are going through, situations in life that seem dead. Lifeless. Joy sucked out. Hope dried up. Despair. Depression. Anxiety. Loneliness. Suffering. Fear. Seemingly never-ending, our spirit grows heavy and weary and weak, and our faith wears thin, and we wonder, Will it ever get better? Will I ever get better?
I've had these emotions drum in my heart. I’ve had these wonderings run through my mind.
In Ezekiel 37, we find a picture of death. Of hopelessness. But we also find promise and new life and hope. Let’s look at this passage and grab hold of the life and hope offered:
A valley of bones. Of dry bones. Signs of death. Of undeniable lifelessness. Joy sucked out. Hope dried up.
God breathed life into the dead. He renewed. He restored. He made alive.
When asked if the bones could live, Ezekiel replied, “Sovereign Lord, You alone know.” In this answer, Ezekiel is putting his trust in God in the midst of his hopeless surroundings. He didn’t look at the bones and give up, saying, “No, life in these is an impossibility.” He kept faith, answering with the assurance that God alone knows, so he would trust Him.
God knows. He knows you. He knows your situation. Your dreams and fears and joys and sorrows and hurts and questions. He knows the pressure that is squeezing life out of you. Lean into Him. Rest in Him. Wait on Him. Focus on Him. Listen to Him.
For it is His breath, His life, His self, that brings life where there is no life, that brings hope where there is only despair, that brings belonging when we feel alone and misplaced, that gives strength and makes a warrior of us when we feel weak and weary and defeated. He is breathing and renewing and restoring and sustaining your life.
God has power to raise the dead, to swallow up death in victory (1 Corinthians 15:54). And in Romans 8:11, we are told that this power is alive in us by God’s Spirit. We are never without hope. As 1 Peter 1:3 says, ours is a living hope, one that does not die. That cannot die. And so we say, “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:55)
To grab hold of this hope, of this victory, of this life, we must obey the One who offers such. God commanded Ezekiel to prophesy, to participate in bringing God’s life into the world. Ezekiel could have refused. He could have felt embarrassed talking to a bunch of bones and chosen not to. He could have decided God didn’t know best and done his own thing. And if he would have chosen not to follow God’s way, He would not have seen life rush in and make new.
Obedience to God brings life because obedience to God is true living. It is what we were made for. It is not burdensome duty, but lovingly serving He who first loved us, knowing and trusting that He knows what is best, that He is working things out for our good, that His plans are to prosper and not to harm, giving a hopeful future (Romans 8:28, Jeremiah 29:11). And that, no matter what, we will not be separated from His love, not even by death (Romans 8:38-39).
God brought life to the valley of bones as a promise of the life He would bring to His people. He promised to make them alive so they would “know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it.” He was revealing Himself, His power and goodness, His glory. He was making Himself known. For true, never-ending life is only found in the Author of Life (John 17:3).
In the midst of the despair and lifelessness and hopelessness, there is Light at the end of the tunnel; a promise of full life, full restoration, the wiping away of tears and pain and suffering, the perishable clothed with the imperishable and mortal with immortality, untouchable by death (1 Corinthians 15:52-55). And there in the tunnel also, right in the darkest, dankest and lowest place, there is Light; our ever-present Jesus, comforting by His Spirit, whispering hope to our spirit. We will live. We will triumph. We will see Glory.
Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:57