October 2, 2017

Restoring Hope: Part 1

“Son of man, can these bones become living people again? ‘O Sovereign LORD,’ I replied, ‘You alone know the answer to that.’… Then He said to me, ‘Son of man, these bones represent the people of Israel. They are saying, We have become old, dry bones – all hope is gone. Our nation is finished.’”          Ezekiel 37:3; 11 (NLT)

Have you ever felt like all hope is gone? Human beings can live for forty days without food, four days without water, and four minutes without air. But, we cannot live for four seconds without hope. We need hope to cope!  Without faith, we would lose all hope. Without hope, we can never love and, without love, we are nothing!  Faith, hope and love are the three abiding values that make life meaningful and purposeful!

What causes us to lose hope?  Losses.  The recent flood of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria have brought apocalyptic losses in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and surrounding areas.  Floodwaters have washed away homes with so many precious memories, photo albums and personal treasures.  Businesses have been lost.  Loved ones have been lost.  So many are left in the devastating wake of a hopeless existence.  They force themselves to just go through the motions with no emotion.  They feel hopeless.  But, the good news is that hope is alive because God is alive!  He is a God of all hope.  He is a God who restores hope when all hope is gone!  This is what we learn from Ezekiel 37.  It’s a powerful, encouraging word from God to a prophet living in exile hundreds of miles from his homeland.  His country had been defeated.  Israel and Judah had both fallen, and those remaining were deported.  Their Temple was destroyed.  Their King was killed.  They were living in captivity in a valley of hopeless called the Valley of Dry Bones.  They said, “Our nation is finished!”  In their despair, God came to restore hope!  He spoke to the prophet Ezekiel and asked him the question,

“Son of man, can these bones live again?”  

Ezekiel gave the right answer.  It was the only answer he could give.

“O Sovereign LORD, You alone know the answer to that.” 

A pastor I know felt that way after losing his way and his ministry.  As he read this passage of Scripture, he said it was if the Holy Spirit asked him the very same question.  When he read the answer Ezekiel gave, “O Sovereign LORD, You alone know the answer to that.” he said,

“God began to restore my hope with this confident assurance, ‘That You know O Sovereign LORD is enough.’”

I don’t know what you are going through, but I do know this much: God wants to restore your hope today!  I don’t know how He will do it and you don’t either, but that He knows is enough!  Let Him do it.  Trust that He will come through!  He will make a way where there seems to be no way!  Even when Moses doubted God could deliver on what He promised, the Lord said,

“Has my arm lost its power?  Now you will see whether or not My word comes true!” Numbers 11:23 (NLT)

Are you living in a Valley of Dry Bones?  Maybe it’s your marriage that has become lifeless, maybe it is a dream that’s died, a lost career, a loss of passion, and you’re going through the motions of life with no emotion left.  I believe God wants to speak to you personally this week and begin to restore your hope!  Let’s take the journey together from hopelessness to hopeful.  Join me each morning in this blog for the insights we will learn from Ezekiel 37 that will breathe life into these dry bones.