|"Can these bones live?"|
Can you imagine taking a tour of a local cemetery, minus the headstones with the graves exposed and the dead bones lying everywhere in plain view? That is precisely the scene described in the Book of Ezekiel, as the Lord takes him on a tour of a valley full of dry, dead bones. Ezekiel describes a scene where he is standing in the middle of a valley surrounded by dry, dead bones. Not a trip I’d like to take. But, God takes him there and questions him.
“Mortal, can these bones live?” I answered, “O, Lord, God, YOU know.” Ezekiel 37:3 A perfect answer when you are having a conversation with the Lord. Best to admit, that, in His Presence, we scarcely know our own name. Simply no contest. God is God and we are not…
Ezekiel, knowing it is impossible for him to make these dry bones live again, nevertheless acknowledges that God can do the impossible and make even dead bones fill with life and dance on their own graves, if He so chooses. The Lord, being the Lord, instructs Ezekiel to “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them: O dry bones, hear the Word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God to these bones, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live…and you shall know that I am the Lord.” Ezekiel 37:4,5
I find it odd, somewhat, that, as Christmas draws to a close for another year, I am drawn like a magnet to these verses. I am humbled, once again, to remember that God decides when and where He will take us to speak to us, just as He ruled the time in Ezekiel’s life and took him to some shocking places. Why was this so shocking for Ezekiel and why is it for me? Because it was dead. It was rotting. It was ugly. It was hopeless. We don’t like to look at those kind of things, especially not at Christmas, the birthday of the baby Jesus. Let’s protect Jesus’ eyes from this horror. And, while we’re at it, let’s protect mine too. But, Jesus doesn’t need protection. He knows these realities better than we.
I have spent some wonderful moments with family and friends this Christmas. But, in the middle of the wonder and sparkle of Christmas, I smelled dead bones. I looked into eyes that were dead. I felt the cold chill of hopelessness sitting across the table from me. I hugged stone hearts that could not really feel my love. Or God’s.
As I was reading these verses, I heard God say to me “I took you on a tour of dry bones. Maureen, can these bones live?” I have to say, Lord, God, You know they can.
Are you dry and dead and out of all hope tonight? Are you ready to close the door and bolt it shut for good? Are you giving up on something – your future, your children, your marriage, your faith, your calling, your God? Do you believe God can make your dead bones live? Do you believe He can breathe on you and make you live in ways you cannot even imagine? Do you believe God? That’s really what it comes down to. We can do all the religious rituals we like to do to feel spiritual, but, is God really able to touch us in the dead places? Do we really believe He can bring new life into something we have decided to walk away from?
I have to admit, looking at dead corpses is scary. Carrying them around with us is even more horrible. Why don’t we let God have His way? I know. That’s pretty scary too. But, I want to believe He can do what He says He can do. I want to believe He can make the dead bones in my life and yours, live. And dance. And shout the praises of Our God. Because, then, we will know that He is Lord...
I'll pray for you that, in this coming year, you will see God breathe new life into the dead bones in your life, wherever you have buried them. I'm counting on you to do the same for me...