A man stands at the edge of a gorge. Human bones litter the valley floor. Dry bones bleached white from many days exposed to scorching sun. As his eyes took in the sight before him, he felt sick by such death.
As he looked on, a hand fell on his shoulder before despair took hold of his heart. He looked up at his Companion; the One who led him to this valley of death.
“Son of man,” his Companion asked, “can these dry bones live?”
Can these dry bones live? What a seemingly strange question. Let me ask it another way. Is your soul dry? Do you feel brought so low that you can’t possibly rise? I know I’ve been there. So, let me put it to you this way, “Can your dry bones live?” The answer to this question affects your life on the deepest level. The answer is the gospel.
The man on the edge of the valley is Ezekiel the prophet, and he wrote about this experience in Ezekiel 37. Perhaps you feel like Ezekiel did at that moment, your life the valley littered with bones and your soul as dry as the desert. Too many wounds left you lifeless and too many attacks stole your strength.
I’ve been there. I felt as if the whole world was against me. I felt attacked on all sides until I was rendered to bones and dust. My body weak, my heart broken, and my mind tossed by the wind.
But face down in the dust of that valley, a song came to me:
“It was like somebody knew how to cripple me with the perfect plan to break my belief, took me piece by piece till my faith was all but gone. It brought me down so far that I couldn’t get up but face down in the dirt I heard the voice of love saying do not fear, you won’t be here for long.” (I Will Rise Again by Jason Gray)
That song became my mantra. “Do not fear, you won’t be here for long,” I whispered to myself in the dark as anxiety tore at my bones. “Do not fear, you won’t be here for long,” I whispered as I slept in beds in homes that weren’t mine. “Do not fear, you won’t be here for long,” I whispered as my clothes dropped down yet another size.
It’s sad but true that some suffering lasts a lifetime. We live in a fallen and broken world. But even those who will never find relief on earth can claim this statement. Paul says this in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18:
“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”Christ has made it so that there’s a day coming when every wound will be healed, and every tear wiped away. This is our hope in the gospel. Therefore, we can say, with boldness, “Do not fear, you won’t be here for long.” Click To Tweet
Christ has made it so that there’s a day coming when every wound will be healed, and every tear wiped away. This is our hope in the gospel. Therefore, we can say, with boldness, “Do not fear, you won’t be here for long.”
“Son of man, can these dry bones live?”
The Lord led Ezekiel to this valley of bones and asked this strange question. He led you to your dry valley too, and He stands by your side as you take in all your losses. He asks you, “My child, can these dry bones live?” Can your hope live? Can your faith live? Can you live?
We all go through what feels like seasons of death, but we must remember that we won’t be there for long. Each one of those seasons has a purpose: to make us as pure as fine gold, just as Peter wrote in 1 Peter 1:6-7:
“In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
The Lord commanded Ezekiel in verse 4 to prophesy life into the bones, and Jason Gray follows suit with the next lines of his song:
“I will rise again. I will rise again. I believe, I believe that I had to break so love could make me whole. But I will rise again, stronger in the end. I believe, I believe in a brand-new day, a love that saves so I can say, I will rise again.”
Your life may never be the same. But you can come out of the valley, your hope can live, your faith can live, and you can live if you speak into it and walk boldly forward with transformation as your goal. Declare that you will not be in the valley forever, and whether relief comes to you on earth or in heaven, never let the suffering snuff out the light of Christ in you. This is how you prophesy over your valley: by living alive.
Becoming a Warrior
Ezekiel obeyed the Lord. He prophesied over those bones, and what happened? “So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived and stood to their feet, an exceedingly great army” (vs. 10).
This reminds me of something my mom is fond of telling me. She looked around at me and the other young people going through suffering and said, “God is raising up a great army.”
Our suffering makes us resilient. The second verse of I Will Rise Again says,
“I am not who I was, you won’t recognize me. Love came down and redefined me, and piece by piece put me back together differently. And the perfect plan to try to bring down has been put to shame, it’s been turned around, as I come so alive that death is afraid of me.”
“As I come so alive that death is afraid of me.” What a statement. But that is what a warrior filled with the Holy Spirit is like. Because of the One who lives inside you, your faith is strong, your hope is grounded, and your joy is independent from your circumstances. The forces of darkness are afraid of the Name you bare, and when you claim it, they see Him instead of you and tremble.No matter when, no matter how, because of Christ you will live. I will live. We will live. Click To Tweet
Can these dry bones live? Yes. Yes, they can. No matter when, no matter how, because of Christ you will live. I will live. We will live. The bones will rise again and become warriors in a great army, the greatest army the world has ever seen.