Ezekiel 37:1-4 NRSV
1The hand of the LORD was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 2He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. 3He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” I said, “Sovereign LORD, you alone know.”
This is the “in-between” day.
Jesus’ execution has been carried out, he has been laid in the borrowed tomb, and our day is quiet. For the disciples, it must have been a day of uncertainty, a day that tested their faith, a day when they might have felt the absence of God. It is not uncommon for us, people of faith, to sometimes feel God’s absence in our lives.
As single parents, often faced with overwhelming responsibility, there may be times, when we, like Ezekiel in the Valley of the Dry Bones, find ourselves in a place that seems hopeless, where we feel far from God’s love. If this does happen, it is nothing to beat ourselves up about, it is part of being human.
Unfortunately, life is not always fair, and despite our best efforts to do the right thing, the ‘right thing’ does not always happen for our children or ourselves! It is at moments like these, when I needed God most, when I found that I was not on speaking terms with the Almighty. It is not that God had left me, but I still felt God’s absence in my life…because I was so angry because life had gone so sour for me (or so I thought)!
The good news is that God is strong enough to take our anger, and that we can never lose God’s love – God is never absent! Just as while we may not always like how our children behave, we will never stop loving them!
So, on this day, when we are in the in-between place with Jesus in the tomb, we can feel as if we are on our own! As if God is absent. However, we know the truth, it is in the scripture…for in the Valley of the Dry Bones, when all seems lost, there is hope, because God is with us! The next verses tell of the power of God’s Word – which in Hebrew is similar to the word for ‘breath’, breathes life into the bones, and instills new life!
Today’s scripture reminds us that no matter how bad the situation looks, we are never alone, God is never absent, and we are never without hope!
Easter promises new life and new beginnings, but before we can get to the light of Easter, we have to go through the darkness of Good Friday, and the absence of that quiet Saturday of grief and uncertainty. It is these days that test our faith, but then it is not always a bad thing to re-examine our faith on a regular basis, for this can cause our faith to grow!
It is with strong (if not always steady) faith, that we can face these moments when we feel as if God is absent, by reaching out in prayer and in fellowship with those we can connect with, the people who are the voice of God in our lives, who can breathe new life into our faith, and give us new hope!
Let Us Pray:
Dear God, on this “in-between” day, when we are remembering when Jesus was in the tomb, let us remember that no matter unfair live may seem, or what struggles we may face as parents and people, that you are never absent. Help us not to be too hard on ourselves for the anger and frustration that can cause us to feel separated from you, but to reach out to those who speak to us with your voice in our lives. Let us always remember that we must go through the pain of Good Friday, in order to get to the joy of Easter!