Not long ago, Maggie the Wonder Dog and I were outside trying to do a little winter clean up outside. Maggie was sniffing every blade of grass, or so it seemed, when suddenly she lifted her head and caught an interesting scent. This was apparently the kind of scent that required the presence of her human, because she ran to me, bumped my leg, ran a few steps, looked back, and continued the process until I was on my way and following close behind. Maggie ran ahead, but every few steps she would check to be sure I was still enroute. There was no hesitation in her path. She had her scent and was following it.
When she drew near the pasture that housed the pile of bones (above), she slowed down. No more than a few steps ahead now, she carefully approached the source of her scent. She walked round and round, occasionally stopping for an extra sniff or two. A large mammal had died and, in the natural order of the wild, had provided sustenance for carnivores through the recent winter chill.
Maggie didn't seem to know what those bones meant, and approached them carefully. She would walk close, sniff, and jump back. The first time she jumped back, I laughed out loud. "Hey Maggie, you act like you've heard of Ezekiel's bones!"
You probably remember the story of the valley of dry bones, but just in case, here's the brief version. Ezekiel had a vision and saw a valley full of dry bones. God said, "Ezekiel, can these bones live again?" Ezekiel was no dummy. He knew he was talking to God, who could do anything, so he wisely said, "I have no idea. You are the only One that knows!" God told him to prophesy to the bones, and, much to his surprise, the bones started rattling around, hooked up together with tendons, and grew some skin! All of a sudden, the valley of dry bones had turned into the valley of lifeless bodies! This was pretty amazing to Exekiel but what came next might have been even more amazing! God said, Ezekiel, prophesy some breath into these bones." After having just seen the bones hook together and get skin, Ezekiel didn't hesitate a second. He started prophesying, breath came into those bodies and, suddenly they weren't lifeless any more. They were alive and an enormous army!
God told Ezekiel that His people thought all hope was gone, but He wanted them to know that there is no situation so hopeless that God cannot breathe life back into it. There is no person so far gone down the road of sin that He cannot breathe life back into them and make a warrior in the kingdom of God. In fact, He said that He would do just that. He would breathe life back into the most hopeless and everyone would recognize that He had done it.
The bones Maggie found have no hope of a new life, but there are some prodigals for whom I am counting on resurrection. Perhaps you know a few of your own. Just in case, remember Ezekiel's bones. The breath of the Spirit gave new life, resurected an army, and that army represented all the hope for which we long.
"I will put my Spirit in you and you will live..." Ezekiel 37:14
Those very words come from God Himself, and they are a promise to which we can cling, so hang on tight to hope, and don't let go.