1 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; it was full of bones. 2 He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. 3 He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”
I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.”
4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! 5 This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. 6 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.’”
7 So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. 8 I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.
9 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’” 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.
11 Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ 12 Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13 Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. 14 I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord.’"
Tuesday, April 10th 8:14pm
In full honesty, I have always been incredibly uneasy with final decisions, especially when I don't make them. Especially when I can't change the final say, when no amount of striving, honesty, hard work and effort will change the ending. I am pressing into the Lord to help me ultimately trust Him, but sometimes it is seems like a distant and impossible prayer to answer.
Tuesday, May 1st 10:46pm
Well, it turns out final words can produce comfort instead of uneasiness. And it's not so much the words as it is the One who says them. Peace replacing fear of the words I can't change. It doesn't all make perfect sense, and that is simply part of the beauty and mystery of my God. Dry bones can come to life. I see now that most of them already have.
The beginning of two journal entries, 21 days apart.
The past 21 days have proven I live my days completely separate from one another. "Take it one day at a time," I tell myself as another busy work day comes to a close.
Most often I live each day as it's own, but April 10th through May 1st was not lived day by day. It was a revival, in fact, disguised by a block of time. That's the only way I can explain it. I don't remember which moments belonged to which day. I don't remember what all was accomplished beyond simply being present with the Lord for 21 days straight.
And it rescued areas of my heart I didn't even know needed saving.
I had a long conversation with a leader from church about this passage as to not write about it in ignorance. To not lead it to a place it wasn't meant to be led. And through conversation back and forth, I was able to let go of the need to be correct and simply see God's character in the words presented. The mystery of a God who loves us so much He can make dry bones come to life.
I can be quite impulsive at times, you see, when it comes to many areas of my life. Writing happens to be one of them. Splash words onto paper, read a couple times through, post. As I was reading Ezekiel 37 with my journal in hand, the words didn't flow quite as easily this time around, so I made the choice to practice patience. I waited. I would give it more time this time around. Each day I would write, very honestly, how I was feeling about the verses above. What God revealed to me over a span of the next 21 days put me in an unfamiliar place, one where my fears, the ones I didn't consciously realize were ruling my life, were brought to the surface and served the taste of defeat.
To say I have no conscious fears sounds naive and completely untrue, but unless I am in the moment of experiencing my fear, when my palms are sweaty and my heart drops straight into my stomach, my fears don't feel real or relevant. I tell myself they're not much of a burden because I have a God who is more powerful than fear.
So when I started reading Ezekial, it was strange to feel such a deep uneasiness at first. It was within this feeling I quickly realized the concept of finality is an unsettling thing to me. It's an uneasiness I can now see sprinkled in the thoughts I have, the words I say, and in the decisions I make. It's a symptom of the human heart I've been living with for 26 years now.
There are two parts to my uneasiness with finality:
First, a worldly fear, that the words I say to others and the decisions I make for my life are permanent.
Second, a fear of God's final word, that what He will say and decide for my life will not align with what I truly see for myself.
It's not a fear that shouts loud. In fact, it never really has. The concept of finality sits patiently in the background. After all, it tells me it will have the last word in the end. No need to shout loud right now if it already has a grip on forever.
I'm uneasy about all the potential "no's" ahead of me. I'm even more uneasy of the painful waiting periods and disappointment to come. What if I don't believe God is really good and on my side if I don't receive what I think is best for my life? I'm uneasy about a final word I can't change.
Most of all, I'm uneasy of the final words I will never be able to change, even with a large doses of effort, affection, and honesty. Even when I am at my absolute best.
The final words spoken over my life, the ones that are difficult to swallow, are my dry bones. The ending of a job, the ending of a relationship, the ending of a dream, even the ending of something I knew needed to be ended.
"This is over now, Anna."
That sentence makes my stomach physically hurt.
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; it was full of bones. He led me back and forth among them, and 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?”
In the past 21 days, He took my hand and walked me through my valley of dry bones. He walked me through past moments, past decisions, past words spoken; the ones the world has told me are simply too far gone to repair. He reminded me I'll never fully experience finality while I'm on this earth because a final word about who I am and where I'll be has already been spoken. He reminded me His beginnings and endings look completely different than my own.
And in that place where my stomach hurts and the world is telling me something is over, where my deep insecurities ring true and that final words have been spoken, I have a God who says "not until I say it is so." Like medicine to a wound, Ezekial 37 tells me a different story. A true story.
He has the power to tell us the past is done, but He also has the power to resurrect the past in a beautiful and new way, all in His timing and love. The finality of our decisions in life are fleeting compared to the finality of His words.
I realized Satan will do anything to have us look back so we will miss what's ahead. He'll do anything to bring back feelings, thoughts, and insecurities to prevent us from being who we are being made to be. When I feel myself striving to make sense of circumstances or decisions I've made, or to prove who I once was, I can hear Him telling me-- "Anna, I've told you, it is done."
The most comforting final words of all time.
That's the kindness of our God, who would sit with me and flash a floodlight on the lies. That's the power of our God, who can turn our fear into peace. Dry bones coming to life.
When the Lord speaks of forgiveness, that is the final word. When He tells us we are wanted, that is the final word. When He tells us our time on earth is temporary, and that we will someday be fully united with Him, that is the final word.
And all of a sudden, my final words become simply words. They're part of a dialogue He hasn't written, for neither you or me.
Believing His final words will be the last ones frees me to live a life now without worry of the ones spoken here on earth. That He can put to rest what needs to be put to rest for now, and He can surely resurrect and redeem what we title as too far gone.
I will put breath in you, and you will come to life... I will put my Spirit in you and you will live.
What could be more beautiful.