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Dry bones, a huge stone, and withered limb

Dry bones in the valley....the crippled and paralyzed by the roadside....the tomb - what do these three have in common?

God grabbed me. God’s Spirit took me up and set me down in the middle of an open plain strewn with bones. He led me around and among them—a lot of bones! There were bones all over the plain—dry bones, bleached by the sun. He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” I said, “Master God, only you know that.” (Ezekial 37:1-3)

Near the Sheep Gate in Jerusalem there was a pool, in Hebrew called Bethesda, with five alcoves. Hundreds of sick people—blind, crippled, paralyzed—were in these alcoves. One man had been an invalid there for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him stretched out by the pool and knew how long he had been there, he said, “Do you want to get well?” The sick man said, “Sir, when the water is stirred, I don’t have anybody to put me in the pool. By the time I get there, somebody else is already in.” Jesus said, “Get up, take your bedroll, start walking.” The man was healed on the spot. He picked up his bedroll and walked off. (John 5:1-9)

After the Sabbath, as the first light of the new week dawned, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to keep vigil at the tomb. Suddenly the earth reeled and rocked under their feet as God’s angel came down from heaven, came right up to where they were standing. He rolled back the stone and then sat on it. Shafts of lightning blazed from him. His garments shimmered snow-white. The guards at the tomb were scared to death. They were so frightened, they couldn’t move. The angel spoke to the women: “There is nothing to fear here. I know you’re looking for Jesus, the One they nailed to the cross. He is not here. He was raised, just as he said. Come and look at the place where he was placed.(Matthew 28:1-6)

Dry bones - so many they fill the valley's floor - so dry there is no hope for them to reveal life again. Bleached by the sun, brittle, resembling nothing but death. Can these bones live? Blind, crippled, paralyzed - lined up day after day, all with a place that defines them as 'needy' and 'lame' - will they ever be well again? A tomb - rock solid - stone sealed into place. Can anything good come from the death sealed within? The answer to all these questions is YES! The one thing all these 'limiting things' have in common is God! Where he speaks - even the hardest of things are possible. He is so much more than the 'limitations' we see in our lives.

Dry places in our lives need not keep us dry - for life is as close as the very breath of God breathed into that place of dryness and barrenness. What seems hopeless in our mind is true potential in his. Crippled and discarded parts of our lives - made straight again, worth something of value - by the creative word of God. A stone blocking the way - sealing inside death and hopelessness - rolled away, no longer giving cover to death, but opening the way for life to come forth. These are the things God sees when he sees the very things we see as nothing more than hindrances or barriers in our lives.

Where the presence of God is - there is life. Where the word of God is - there is hope. Where the breath of God is - there is vision and purpose. We might see the barrier - God only sees what is just on the other side of that barrier. Maybe we need to change how we view the dry places - the mangled and maimed places of our character - the hugeness of the thing we think could never be removed from our lives. God is about to break forth in ways we might not have considered before. Why does God ask the questions? Maybe it is to find out what we see the most. If all we see is the barrier, we might never look beyond that barrier. The questions God brings aren't a challenge to our faith as much as they are a challenge to look beyond what we see as limitations and allow God to show us what is just beyond what we see as impossibilities. Just sayin!

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