October 31, 2007
And he said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord God, you know.” Then he said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. Ezekiel 37:3-5
California is burning.
This past Saturday, I spoke at the Centennial Celebration of Grace Lutheran Church in Visalia, California. It was a wonderful weekend of thanksgiving.
Even so, everyone’s conversation, quite understandably, kept turning to the wildfires that are raging to the south. You could see the pain in people’s faces as they spoke of the acres burned, the homes destroyed, the fires which continued on unchecked.
Although there were a few times when people asked, “Do you think our state will recover? Do you think these people can ever get their lives back?” Most of the time hearts were spent sending prayers to the Lord above. All of us, like all of you, asked the God of grace to stay the flames and bring harmony to the land, the hearts and the souls of those whose lives had been so tragically disturbed.
Thinking about what I was seeing on TV, listening to the thoughts of my friends in Visalia, I could not help but remember the vision of Ezekiel in which God showed him a valley filled with dry bones. Having revealed this scene of destruction and death, God put forth the question that introduces our text. He said, “. . .can these bones live?”
Ezekiel, surveying the desolate situation could have logically replied, “Absolutely not! It can’t be done! Instead, with a Spirit-given faith, the prophet responded, “O Lord God, You know.” The rest of the 37th chapter of Ezekiel speaks of how the Lord miraculously brought those dead bones back to life. God, who is the Creator of life, accomplished that which would be impossible for anyone else to do.
As you and I observe the wildfires in California, we might wonder, “Will things ever be right for this state and its suffering people?” The answer is an unqualified, “Yes!” The Lord who created the universe and all it contains is able to restore that which has been blackened by a wildfire. The Lord who has redeemed souls from the fires of hell, can save believers from the despair that is brought by an earthly fire.
THE PRAYER: Dear Heavenly Father, today my prayers come to You on behalf of those who have lost so much. Send Your Holy Spirit upon those who are in pain to let them know that You have not deserted them. Grant them a faith which trusts You to bring good out of a terrible situation. In this time of tragedy, may they be turned to the Savior who can heal lands that have been burned and hearts that are hurting. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries