The story goes of a young woman who has another broken relationship in her life finalized and she’d concluded in her heart that she’d had enough. There was no way she’d have anything to do with God again. But, not long after this she finds herself standing in the Jewish Holocaust exhibit and before her the pile of Holocaust victims bones. That settled it, no loving God would allow that to happen! If she’d ever doubted it before she knew it now. But then she heard a still small voice whisper in her soul, “Don’t leave Me… This is what happens when I’m rejected, darkness reigns and lives are destroyed, please… don’t leave Me.”
The story hit me like a ton of bricks as I was driving down the road yesterday listening to a podcast. I’ve asked that question myself. “Why?” Especially over broken relationships or harsh conversations when a dull knife stabbed into my soul and twisted would surely have been less painful. But looking back on those experiences they were nothing in comparison to the Jewish Holocaust. Not even worthy of being in the same sentence.
It is said that Ezekiel 37:1-14 the story of the dry bones, is a prophecy of the Holocaust and the rebuilding of the Nation of Israel. Whether it is or not, I’m not a Theologian, so I’ll leave it to their debate, but regardless the similarities are there.
Verses 1-5 ~ The hand of the Lord was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones, And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry. And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord God, thou knowest. Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus saith the Lord God unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live:
Those bones that God brought back to life, rewrapped them in muscle and breathed life into their bodies may look like something out of a science fiction movie but it’s very much how God works in our lives. Only God can take broken lives that are shattered beyond recognition and restore them. It wasn’t happenstance that God revealed Himself to the woman in the story at the Holocaust exhibit; it wasn’t happenstance that he revealed Himself to me at Victory Baptist Church in 1996. God manipulated the circumstance in my life that caused my dead, dry bones (that did not know Jesus) to walk into a valley of restored bones in a church that was alive.
Perhaps that’s too “churchy” of a conversation for us to have this morning. Maybe God manipulated your bones into this cyber place this morning because He wanted to conduct a little science experiment on you. Have you all but given up on God, life, love, or family? God’s telling you right now, “Don’t leave me. Without Me there is no light to be found, only darkness.
That morning that God manipulated me (and that’s a whole other story!) into Victory Baptist Church, I didn’t realize that there was no life in me, until the Spirit of God began to stir in my soul. I didn’t know what that was either, I just knew I felt “something.” And as I heard the Word of God preached it was like there was an inner strength welling up inside of me. I found three things in that valley that caused me to never want to leave it again.
Strength (the struggles were not over, but I had the power to fight)
Connection (my bones knit with the bones of other believers and I had stable support)
Breath (I found air to breathe that had not been there for years. The pressure of the world on my chest more often than not felt like a literal weight shutting down my ability to breathe and move. I just existed)
That’s what God does. He takes a weird concoction like me and makes sense out of it.
Listen… are you in that valley this morning? Hear the Savior calling… Don’t leave me.
I can promise because I’ve experienced it, He’ll never leave you!