15 Nov Breathe Life
Have you tried to pray your way out of feeling ‘some kind of way’? Or simply wondered why you have to go through “stuff”?
A lot of us, myself included, would like God to bless us with everything and experience no issues.
We want perfect partners and kids with no issues who are always well behaved. A consistent kumbaya job atmosphere with a paycheck that covers everything and more. Cars that don’t require maintenance. Healthy and fit bodies that can eat as much as we want. Four all-expense-paid two-week-long vacations a year. Parents aging with grace and no ailments.
I could go on, but the reality is that “perfection” or a “no-problem life”, is not really a real life.
In real life, we have experiences. We feel. We mourn things and loved ones. We celebrate. We cry. There are valleys and there are mountain tops. We’re going through REAL stuff!
When I am experiencing something heavy, I have found it helpful to remember a hard place mentioned in our Word, the Valley of Dry Bones (Ezekiel 37: 1-14)
In Ezekiel 37, God sits Ezekiel, a priest, down in the middle of the valley of dry bones.
His account begins with these words: “God grabbed me. God’s Spirit took me up and set me down in the middle of an open plain strewn with bones. He led me around and among them—a lot of bones! There were bones all over the plain—dry bones, bleached by the sun.” (Ezekiel 37:1-2 MSG).
What do you think that valley looked like? Barren, full of bones and with no signs of life.
Doesn’t life feel like that at times? Barren, full of bones and with no signs of life. And don’t we sometimes feel like God has placed us there?
The valley that Ezekiel is in, is The Promised Land. It is home to the lowest spot on earth. Located down below the Jordan Valley, near the Dead Sea, this valley is more than 1,300 feet below sea level. This means that if Ezekiel was sitting at the lowest point in the valley, then the valley was over Ezekiel’s head, and life and problems are sometimes over ours. Sometimes, life and problems feel like they are too far above us to tackle. But it is in the valleys where we have the clearest view of God we will ever get.
Do your pains or problems ever feel likes there over your head?
In verse 3, Ezekiel begins to analyze his circumstances and God asks him, “Son of man, can these bones live? “
I’ve read that God, being that he’s God and all (omnipotent and omnipresent), doesn’t have to ask us questions. But, when he does, it’s because he wants to get something to us.
Here, God was trying to build Ezekiel’s faith.
When Ezekiel realizes that he doesn’t know what to do, but he rests in the fact that God does, he responds “Lord, you alone know.”
God then brings him into the miracle of his faith, the resurrection of those dry bones by telling him to SPEAK life.
He says, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”
God didn’t tell Ezekiel to first bring life and then SPEAK. It was in the speaking of the words of God that brought life. You see this again, in Mark 11:23, when God tells us to have a faith and SPEAK to our mountain.
Woman of Judah, as we study the feelings of the characters in the bible, like depression, anger, betrayal, and loss in these weeks leading up to the holidays, I hope you are encouraged to know that they too, went through “some REAL stuff”.
But, the most important part of these stories is that the characters persevered.
No matter how dried up and worthless we feel, or how dead our situation looks, God can restore us to life through His Word and Spirit.
God’s word is filled with His promises. The Bible is the ultimate source of truth, it is the assurance that we will survive the valleys because He is with us.
There is a popular Billy Graham quote that reads, “Mountaintops are for views and inspiration, but fruit is grown in the valleys.”
Woman of Judah, the valleys are for our stretching. It doesn’t feel good, but it is in our valley moments that we must lead with our faith and SPEAK to circumstance.
Listen, I know it’s not easy. In fact, I heard one pastor say that, “faith is grown person word.” I like that!
The next time your feelings are trying to get the best of you, or your problems seem dry and lifeless, look up! It is from that valley that you will find your God’s grace and mercy. It is from that position, that you will began to prophesize and SPEAK life over your life and your circumstances. Look up, sisters! Look for The One that is higher than all your problems and when your faith is ignited, look at your circumstance and SPEAK.
Increase your faith by reading: Ezekiel 37:1-14