“Thus says the Lord God to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live.” (Ezekiel 34:5)
The story of Ezekiel and the Valley of the dry bones is one of the most vivid stories in scripture. People picture a vast wasteland covered in bones and looking like death. Written to the people of Israel while in exile, it is a story of hope and of life coming out from death.
The picture of God we have here is an important one. We often encounter things that bring death and destruction to our world and to our lives. All of this may be figurative in that it is not life giving. Or it may be literal in that something alive literally dies. In either case, the forces and realties of death are always hovering around our lives. Death is a real and present issue.
But in all of these things, we encounter a God who continues to press forward toward life. As God brings breath and life to the bones in the vision Ezekiel has, so God continues to work for life in the midst of those things that produce death in our world as well.
Wars bring death – God works among the warring to bring peace and restore life. Hatred brings death – God works among the hating to bring healing and restore life. Injustice brings death – God works in the midst of injustice to restore justice and bring life.
You may be wrestling with something or someone who seems to have sided with the forces that bring death to our world. You may be overwhelmed by the news that tells of one incident after another where life is torn down and it seems like death has the upper hand. It is easy to wonder how it can be that life wins.
But the cross and resurrection of Jesus provide both insight into our situation and also demonstrate God’s commitment to bring life out of death. The death of Jesus is the ultimate sign of the power that death wields in our world. And the resurrection of Jesus is the ultimate sign of the fact that God is always working out of love to bring life. Love (and life) wins!