Speaking Life To Dry Bones
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?”
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.’”
Weariness and discouragement seem to go hand in hand, don’t they? I have felt it lately; the sheer exhaustion of hard work, like wading through treacle and never quite reaching the other side; the sharp sting of someone you respect telling you that your dream is likely never to come true. The aching disappointment that comes from watching on the sidelines as someone else achieves that exact same dream. Prayers that feel like they’re uttered into the silent void.
I have felt that dry, dusty, lonely place. I have sat in that valley where all you can see is dry bones and all you can taste is despair.
Maybe you’ve been in that place, too?
As I owned up to my discouragement, a kind stranger sent me a prayer that ended with these words:
I speak life over you.
In that moment, I recognised the voice of the Holy Spirit, echoing the words of the prayer:
I speak life over you!
I began to think about the Holy Spirit, who was there at the beginning, who called light and water and planets into being; who created mountains and waterfalls and starfish; who breathed life into existence – the same Holy Spirit who breathes life into us.
I looked out over my garden and thought about how the Spirit cultivates us, nurturing the seeds that have been planted in us. Like a master gardener, he faithfully tends to us, cares for us, waters, watches, waits in patience with us as we grow strong and beautiful. I thought about how this is the same Spirit who nurtures tiny acorns into mighty oak trees.
They will be called oaks of righteousness, A planting of the Lord for the display of his splendour. (Isaiah 61:4)
I thought about how the Holy Spirit is like oil, soothing weary bones, and water, reviving parched souls.
I remembered the tombs of Lazarus and Jesus and how the Holy Spirit has brought life out of dry bones before. He speaks resurrection to the places we thought were dead and forgotten. He speaks hope into our hopelessness and strength into our weariness.
The Holy Spirit works behind the scenes, under the ground, inside the grave. There is nowhere he cannot go and no one he chooses to abandon. His presence permeates everything, nurturing new life into being.
Dead bones are infused with life, deserts flourish and bloom, winter turns into spring and we are given beauty in exchange for our ashes.
Resurrection is on its way.
I speak life over you.