The hand of the LORD was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me in the middle of a valley. . . . I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me, "Son of man, can these bones live?" I said, "Sovereign LORD, you alone know." Then he said to me, "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.'" Ezek. 37:1-6
Heavenly Father, I would do well to meditate on this portion of your Word once a month---no, make that at least once a week. For it "calls out" my unbelief, it confronts my complacency, it deconstructs every excuse I offer for giving up on difficult situations and "impossible" circumstances; broken relationships and cold-hearted people. You are the God who does exceedingly beyond all we can ask or even imagine, bless your holy and powerful name!
Too many churches, marriages and hearts have become piles of dry, breathless bones. Vibrant green has become ashen grey. The music hasn't faded; it's gone. Selflessness has been supplanted with spite; desire has become overgrown with weeds of disconnect, distrust, despair, and even despisal.
But it's not Ezekiel who asks about the possibility of renewal, redemption, and restoration; it's you, Father. It's you! "Can these bones live?" you ask. The question is rhetorical, for you are the God of resurrection! I'll not presume on the process, but I'll trust in your promises.
Father, for your glory alone, I ask you to breathe on the near and already bone dry marriages of a few dear friends. Where there's no hope left, bring a fresh outpouring of affection from and for the great Spouse, Jesus. What but the love of Jesus can transform stubborn hearts into supple hearts, can replace mean with mercy, can supplant self-protective willfulness with gospel willingness? Who but Jesus can transform cold antipathy into kindhearted intimacy?
Those are my rhetorical questions, Father, for I know of no other hope for cold marriages, dead churches, or hard hearts but Jesus and his great love lavished on us in the gospel. Indeed, Jesus, you are the Resurrection and Life. Today as I pray for these marriages, churches, and friends, and for myself, I'm not going to be preoccupied with looking at dry bones but with you, a living Savior.
Jesus, bring life, your life---abundant life, eternal life, to the places of death. Restore to all of us the joy of your salvation, the hope of your resurrection, and a passion for your glory above everything else... including our own happiness.
As I begin a brand new season of growth in grace and kingdom adventures, I join many friends in hoisting high the sails of our hearts. Blow vision, passion and delight into our mainsail, and lead us Jesus, wherever you will and please. So very Amen we pray, in the tender mercies of your triumphant name.