A mighty battle filled the air with cries of pain and agony. Spears thrust deep into soldiers and swords left gaping wounds. Shattered and bleeding bodies slumped to the dry, sandy soil, and slowly life and sounds ebbed away.
We aren’t told who won and who was defeated. We only know that many lives had been lost. The valley grew silent, a scene of grim devastation. There they lay, an army decaying in the desert until nothing remained but bones. Bones picked clean by nature’s scavengers. Bones scattered across the vast valley. Dry, lifeless bones.
God and Ezekiel walked back and forth across that valley, carefully avoiding stepping on bones. This detail is not mentioned in the Bible, but one can surely imagine they would be respectful of the bones. If it were me, I’d be very careful!
God turned to Ezekiel and asked a question.
Before I get to the question, let me clear up something. Some of you Bible scholars already are shouting, “But no one has ever seen God!” I’m one step ahead of you.
God led Ezekiel out to that valley “by the Spirit of the Lord.” It’s akin to what’s often happened to me and hopefully you. The Holy Spirit compels us or prompts us to do something. That’s the same as being led by the Spirit of the Lord.
We now return to God’s question.
“Can these bones live?” That’s what God asked of Ezekiel.
Of course not! That would be the logical answer, wouldn’t it? And I imagine it’s what Ezekiel thought.
Those bones represented the nation of Judah, their hopes and their dreams. “Our bones are dried up,” they said, “and all our hope is gone.”
Babylon, the military powerhouse of the day, had invaded Judah. The Temple, center of the people’s worship, had been destroyed. The brightest and best of their people—all the intellectuals, the young and strong, the scientists, teachers, doctors, agriculturalists, leaders—had been marched off as prisoners of war to Babylon. Those left behind lived in extreme poverty and fear of their lives. Just going out and looking for food was risky. All the glorious promises God had made to His people seemed to be wiped out; their hopes and dreams were gone forever. Restoration of their nation seemed impossible. Their lives had been destroyed.
Oh yes, my fellow sojourner, we can relate, can’t we? Our bones, our spirits, our hopes and dreams have been destroyed by loss. Our self-worth is as dry as those bones. Our life feels as barren as that desert.
Are you feeling totally hopeless? In pain caused by an event that crashed upon you and sent you into a downward spiral? Have you been ripped apart by the spear of a friend’s betrayal? Has a lie spoken about you plunged into your life and destroyed it? Has death invaded your soul? Has part of your identity been stripped away, perhaps an ability or a capability or a job, perhaps the one thing you valued most about yourself? Are you mourning the life you once knew, now destroyed by the pandemic, political fighting, and hostile social circumstances?
Are you feeling rejected? Worthless? Has your ability to trust been broken beyond repair? Are you in need of renewed hope after a job loss, the death of a loved one, a relationship gone bad, marriage vows broken, or being a victim of someone else’s cruelty?
Perhaps you’re actually one who is responsible for many of these dry bones. Maybe you have been the betrayer, the unfaithful, the one who has devastated many lives. Maybe you are the rebellious son or daughter, the one who has shattered trust, the hand that bore a sword plunged deep into another’s heart. The truth is that as you destroyed another, you were also destroying yourself. Your bones lie among the others.
Maybe you’re one who is frustrated and disappointed with God. Your trust in Him has been shaken and has dwindled to almost nothing. You’re angry with Him. How could He have allowed this thing to happen? Or maybe, as the perpetrator of pain, you are now afraid that God will not forgive what you’ve done. How could He possibly? The bones of your faith are parched.
Whatever the specifics of your situation, are you feeling the naked, deadly hopelessness of bones bleached in the hot sun, stripped of all flesh and breath and life, knowing that not even a glimmer of hope exists?
Are you tired of feeling that way?
There is an invitation awaiting you. It’s from me.
I’ve been invited to go on a journey to a place of restoration. You are welcome to come with me. As a matter of fact, I’m really hoping you will accompany me. Folks are waiting for us along our journey toward restoration. These folks will help us along the way. They have been positioned at just the right place and time to meet our specific needs.
WARNING: This journey is fraught with pitfalls. There will be pain and tears. It is a journey for only the brave and courageous.
Is the journey worth it? Can a person really be made whole again when they are dead on the inside? Can your destroyed spirit, your devastated broken heart be made whole again? Can shattered joy and hope really be restored to you? Is peace possible?
Yes, this can all happen. We will need a miracle, though. And the journey will require a choice and an effort from you. We’ll get to those a little farther along in the journey, but be forewarned that the journey is not an easy one.
You can choose to stay where you are and become an island to yourself, isolated and steeped in your own toxic thoughts and feelings. You can attempt to keep the pain at bay, try to dull it, gloss over it, pretend it doesn’t hurt. You might think you’ve kicked the grief monster down the road a bit, but when you meet yourself face to face, you know you are still dead inside. You can remain a miserable person, or….
You can join me on the miracle journey.
Chapter 1 of The Miracle Journey by Paul Stutman
This book can be purchased here!