For the last week or so I have been reading and mediating on Ezekiel 37. I’ve read this chapter several times before, but lately when I read it I have a hard time getting past the first verse. It reads, “The hand of the Lord was upon 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.” However, I recommend that you read the entire chapter when you get a chance. But, the first verse, at least for me, is indicative of seasons that I’ve been in as I’ve walked with God; and I simply want to share some encouraging words that I have gleaned from this text.
One of the reasons I write, or attempt to write so many encouraging blogs is because people are going through some tough seasons in their lives and honestly writing encouraging things helps me get through my own rough seasons. The Christian journey with God is not linear; rather it goes up and down and as we walk with God we will find ourselves on top of some mountains (seasons where things in our lives tend to prosper) at one point and nestled in some valleys (seasons where we encounter trials) at another, it is simply a part of walking with God. But let’s be clear about one thing, the valleys that God allow us to be in are never intended to destroy us, but only to grow us and strengthen our relationship with God. Likewise, the mountain tops that we experience are not moments for us to relax in our relationship with God, but they are moments to be used to draw others to the foot of the cross. Having said that, for those of us who have been in or are currently in a valley experience I believe we’re in good company.
The prophet Ezekiel is in a valley when God speaks to him and commands him to make the dry bones live. The interesting thing about God’s command to Ezekiel is not that God wants him to speak life to the dry bones, but God wants him to speak life to the dry bones while he’s in the valley. What’s even more interesting is that these bones don’t belong to Ezekiel, they represent the house of Israel (a stubborn people). So not only does God tell Ezekiel to command the dry bones to live in the midst of a valley, but the bones don’t even belong to Ezekiel.
How often have you had to speak life into others in the midst of your own valleys? How many times has God commanded you to do something in the midst of your valley that didn’t make sense, wouldn’t benefit you, and was causing you to be stretched? Truthfully speaking, our valleys can become so dark and dismal that any command from God that is not centered on getting us out of our valleys can seem ridiculous. But, I wish to suggest that these commands from God to tend to someone else’s dry bones are used to minister to us in the midst of our valleys. Sometimes God is simply trying to grow us up. Sometimes our valley experiences are not about us, but about the God we can glorify and the people we can help while we’re in the midst of our valleys. I’ll say to you what my Pastor told me once, “You may want to give up because you’re hurt, but somebody else may be on the verge of dying…so you have to play while you’re hurt.” Keep speaking and tending to someone else’s dry bones in the midst of your valley, and watch God bring you both back to life.
What are some ways you can see your valley experience glorifying God?