IT WAS FIRST SILENCE. Deadly silence.
He could almost hear a pin drop.
From the cliﬀ where he stood, he saw that the valley stretched before him was a white carpet. With brown patches. As he descended the hill on the wings of the Spirit, he saw the carpet take a three-dimensional form. With contours.
White carpet? Hardly.
White carpet – bones, thousands of them. Brown patches – sand.
He didn’t believe his eyes! Shapes like skulls, breast bones, ﬁsts and — what the…
He stepped down into the valley and was at eye level with the bones. Frowning skulls, clenched ﬁsts, ﬂexed thigh bones across broken hip sockets. They all seemed poised to action, but without a ﬂesh. They were disjointed.
Dry. And. Very dead.
He went round them and thought he was seeing faces. Depressed, downcast ones. Wishing they had won the battle that brought them down in this valley. He was probably unborn when the war was fought and ten years old when the bald vultures got tired of meat.
His face squeezed in a grimace as desperation rushed through his veins. The gory sight made him queasy.
Dry bones in the valley of death.
But before he got overwhelmed with sadness, the master GOD tapped his shoulder and said, “Son of Man, can these bones live?”
Live? Dry bones. How long does it take a human being to decompose to dry bones – ten years, twenty? He could have looked it up on Google.
If souls do travel by foot after death, theirs would have reached their destination long ago. Now to call them back?
I don’t know, he thought. But he knew better than to voice his doubts. So he said, “Master GOD, only you know that.”
Yes. This was the Master GOD, not mere man. This was the One who made a walled highway on the Red sea by the wand of a cane walking stick. This was One who made dresses that grew through the years so His people did not need to swap dresses. It was Him who rained manna from heaven for food. Same God who scolded His people and drew them back to Himself.
Only You know that. Only You can know that.
What is death?
Hopes lost. Dreams dashed. Heightened expectations crushed.
Being dead is like being in sin, being alienated from God and condemned to the harsh consequences of iniquity.
Death is what happens to a substance addict who isn’t himself when there is no ﬁx. His sanity and sobriety are dead. His joy is late. He ravages mummy’s drawers, steals her trinkets or dad’s suit pocket for cash so he can ﬁx himself up. Or else –
A dead guy is like a victim of a bad habit like a furious temper. No one knows when he will let rip so everyone plays safe around him. Don’t annoy him or he becomes a big red machine -energetic on the outside but he feels dead within. Self-control, love is dead.
When you set out to execute the bright ideas that pop up in your consciousness, you always meet a dead-end. No matter how hard you try to study for a test, you still ﬂunk it. When you manage to keep your head above the water in school, but you know you won’t stay aﬂoat for long, that’s dead-ness.
Or those bright ideas are limited by a debilitating physical illness. You can’t help but feel dead and wimpy.
Do you see yourself like the colt tied to the stakes? It has never been used. It has potentials, but still tied. Maybe his owners felt he’s still too small, or has a weakness they do not want to risk exposing.
Like dad and mum does to you – you’re still too small. You stammer or can’t speak your bright ideas in front of a crowd. Potentiated but restricted –more or less dead.
Or you have a fear of failure that makes you fail the test in your mind before even writing it. You’re already dead before you start living.
Dead. Dead. Dead.
If it takes years for human bones to decay, it means you’ve had this problem for long.
So Master GOD spoke again: Speak my words to these bones.
Ezekiel did speak and there was a rustling sound. The bones began to shake and come together. At ﬁrst it was bone to bone, then muscles, subcutaneous tissue, ligaments, tendons, skin and hair began to form on the bones. Before He knew it, complete humans were fashioned.
Then He prophesied to the wind – which promptly responded and gave them the breath of life. They lived and became an exceeding great army. The dry bones became an exceeding great army. Once again. And for the rest of the day, he walked around dazed because he had seen a miracle.
Yes, what you need is His Word, the very one that created the beautiful universe. The very One that came down, lived among us and saved us – you need Jesus Christ. The very one that is ready to make you alive again.
Ezekiel saw a miracle. Do you want to see one?
Then come to the source of the God kind of life. Jesus awaits you at the well. His words are spirit-words; it gives Life to dead things.
Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life.
I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.
I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-ﬁtting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.
Will you come to the valley?
God raised Jesus from the dead, and if God’s Spirit is living in you, he will also give life to your bodies that die. God is the One who raised Christ from the dead, and he will give life through his Spirit that lives in you.
Romans 8:11 NCV
A Miracle in the Valley is a tiny part of the first draft of an upcoming anthology set to release in 2021. Watch out for more details soon.
This article was written in 2012. References: Ezekiel 37, Matthew 11:28-30, John 6:63. Article initially inspired by “Spirit Wind,” a song by Casting Crowns