God speaks: Dry bones
Last night during our Lent prayer and worship evening, I asked God to speak to me - give me a sign of why he needed me and why I needed Him. That night, He had ten minutes to tell me!
For the first eight long minutes...
I heard other murmurings around me of God speaking to others, prayers leaving their lips whilst I sat there ... eyes closed, hands clasping my bible close to my head.
Maybe God didn't need me? I sure needed him, and I wanted Him to speak to me. It was my first of these evenings, maybe I needed to prove myself for longer, be a mature Christian, be more devoutly Christ like?
And then, with one minute to go ... I saw a flash - milliseconds of light then darkness again. But I was able to discern a picture, an image in that flash which I strangely recognised: A desert, sands stretching as far as the eye can see, the odd bare dead tree stump ... like a David Attenborough documentary. Bones littered this dry desolate landscape, a powerful image of life once lived now sadly departed. I had heard this description before, even seen this vision in my consciousness, in my Bible.
I used that last minute frantically trying to search for it, feeling slightly embarrassed as the pages rustled whilst those around me continued speaking their prayers. I should be listening to them, surely?
But then, I found what I was looking for in Ezekiel 37, these verses kept jumping out at me:
The Lord said to Ezekiel - "Can these bones live?" Ezekiel replies - "Me!? You know! What do I know?" The Lord said - "Prophesy to these bones ... hear the word of the Lord!"
"These bones are dried up and cut off, I will breath life into these bones. I will cover these bones with tendons, flesh and skin. I will send the four winds into the slain so that they may live. I will open your graves, put my Spirit into you and you will live, and settle you in your own land."
In those last 20-30 seconds I rushed through the chapter, the words and sentences jumped out at me. In that time I knew exactly what God was saying to me.
Although the words refer to Israel in the Old Testament, they are incredibly relevant to now: As a society, we are dead - spiritually. We are a valley of dry bones - spiritually. God will breath life into us. He will provide structure and discipline - renew our flesh, our spirit, our soul! He sent Jesus to us so that we may live forever and through his Holy Spirit he will show us the way.
That is the reason God needs me and the reason that I need God.
Maybe it’s the reason God needs you?
Dan Boyles (on Lent Worship & Prayer Night)