I recently had the amazing opportunity to visit the Hillsong Church in Paris. It was incredible to worship with other believers, as each person sang and praised Jesus joyfully in his own heart-language. It was a small taste of what it will be like when every tribe, tongue and nation kneel before Jesus and confess Him as Lord.
More significantly, I was greatly encouraged by the pastor’s message. God’s words renewed my passion for my community, where I know God has planted me, especially knowing that fellow believers half-way across the world in France are also trying to bring life to a dead place.
That evening, the pastor taught from Ezekiel 37, a story I had never really heard before. If you are not familiar with this passage, take a moment to read Ezekiel 37: 1-10.
As a quick summary, in a vision, the prophet Ezekiel is carried by the Spirit to a valley filled with a multitude of skeletons, very dry bones. Through a series of prophesies over the bones, God raises a living, breathing army.
From this passage we were challenged: can we make a difference as we work and live in a place filled with dry, dead bones? Three observations show us that, yes, we can.
1: The hand of the Lord is upon you.
When you are in Christ, the hand of the Lord is with you. In other words, He is with you and guiding you. He never takes His hand away from your life. The hand of the Lord strengthens. The hand of the Lord is full of great mercies. The hand of the Lord is valiant. The hand of the Lord is powerful. You can take comfort that even as you walk through a dead place, the hand of the Lord is upon you.
2: You have to allow yourself to be carried by the Holy Spirit
Be open to where the Holy Spirit may lead you. The Spirit may not take you to a comfortable place or even a safe place (how comfortable or safe is a deserted valley full of dead bones?), but if you are willing to be led by the Spirit, God will use you.
3: God will put you in a place of great need
The world around us is full of spiritually dead places. But we are alive in Christ and can bring new life to a dry, deserted place! You may work in a valley of dry bones. You may sit in a classroom full of dry bones. You may live in a neighborhood of dry bones. But if you embrace the promise that the hand of the Lord is upon you and that the Holy Spirit will lead you, God can bring life to a broken situation.
Here is my renewed prayer as I return home and get back to my routine,
You know how discouraged I have felt recently. It truly does feel like I am living and working in a valley of dry bones. But I believe that you can breathe life into these broken situations.
Only you can bring the dead back to life. Not only can you restore the bones, but you can cause them to thrive and prosper. Use me to help bring living water to a scorched place.
I pray that you will bring new life to my friends. Help me in my conversations and actions to be carried by the Holy Spirit and to remember that Your powerful hand is with me.