“I’ll breathe my life into you, and you’ll live.” – Ezekiel 37:14 MSG
You wake up. That’s how your day starts.
It’s a normal routine that you’re more than used to. You roll out of bed, thoughts begin to flood your mind, and blood begins to fill your legs as you stumble to the bathroom and catch a reflection of yourself
This is your life.
You blink, and suddenly, your dreams have taken longer than expected to come true.
You’ve yet to obtain that college degree.
You’ve yet to travel like you always promised yourself you would.
You’ve yet to find someone who won’t break your heart or attempt to destroy you.
You’ve yet, still, to find purpose in your own life.
This is your life. You spend all your time wishing and dreaming for someday, and then you blink, and this is your life – this is your someday, and then you blink again – and someday becomes yesterday … and here you are.
This is your life.
The Word of God often refers to our lives as seasons, especially when dealing with matters of the heart. Sometimes, you don’t feel like your life is ever going to change or get any better. Somehow, it’s always winter in your heart. You feel as if your very bones are dried up within you. It’s hard for you to move without the fear of breaking. It’s hard for you to rise up and come alive to be the person you know you are destined to become.
“He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding;” – Daniel 2:21
“He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.” – Psalm 1:3
“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” - Galatians 6:9
If we do not give up …
Sometimes those words are easier said than done, but there is a hope that is found at the other end of not giving up. You find life again. You find meaning again. You find purpose again.
“For everything that happens in life—there is a season, a right time for everything under heaven: A time to be born, a time to die; a time to plant, a time to collect the harvest; A time to kill, a time to heal; a time to tear down, a time to build up; A time to cry, a time to laugh; a time to mourn, a time to dance; A time to scatter stones, a time to pile them up; a time for a warm embrace, a time for keeping your distance; A time to search, a time to give up as lost; a time to keep, a time to throw out; A time to tear apart, a time to bind together; a time to be quiet, a time to speak up; A time to love, a time to hate; a time to go to war, a time to make peace.”- Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
Today, my pastor taught on something I feel has been the entire theme of my life for the past year,
“No storm lasts forever. All storms have to end, but you will keep going.”
- Pastor Shane Bearden
These storms in life, they don’t last forever. There may be damage that the storms wage, and sometimes it may take a while to recover, but you will recover. Healing will come.
God tells us in His Word that there is a season for everything that happens to us in our lives. Of all of these things, the one that has brought the most attention to my life has been, “There is a time to tear down, and a time to build up.”
I tore down a lot last year, or rather, I completely broke down. I was heartbroken, I lost someone I loved, I lost my very best friend, I fell in love – just to be taken advantage of and deceived. I felt my heart literally break into. I was devastated. I was humiliated. I hated myself. I became lost. I lost sight of who I was. I was diagnosed with major depression. I entertained the thoughts of suicide. I felt everyone around me, including my child, would be better off without me – simply because all I did was cry and felt as if I made everyone around me completely miserable. I lost the will to live for a moment. I couldn’t get out of bed. When I tried to sleep, I couldn’t, and when I was asleep, I wanted to stay asleep. There was no joy found in anything, and any laughter I found was temporary and only ended in tears. I started going to counseling. I felt ashamed of myself that I had actually stumbled so far to confide in a complete stranger to listen to and figure out my life problems.
But see, God had a plan for it all. For that season in my life, there was a reason for everything I was going through and everything I was struggling with. He actually promises us that He will work all things together for our good (Romans 8:28) and that everything Satan tries to use to take us out and destroy us, He will use it for our good – to help save not just our lives, but the lives of others as well (Genesis 50:20).
“You planned to harm me. But God planned it for good. He planned to do what is now being done. He wanted to save many lives.” – Genesis 50:20
Satan uses the storms in our lives to try to take us out. If he can’t, he will try to turn us against ourselves in an attempt to convince us to take our own selves out. Sometimes these storms may come and completely destroy everything we know around us, but then there comes a season where we are to rebuild. There is a time to tear down, and a time to build up.
I think everyone is hurting. Some people just hide it better than others. There is a fork in the road that everyone must come to. There is no turning from it, and there is no turning back. The course of the rest of your life depends on this choice, and if you’ll see the path with your heart instead of with your flesh, you’ll realize the chosen path isn’t that hard to find at all; it’s the path that leads to love and forgiveness – it’s the path that leads to life.
“Dry bones hear the voice around, be raised up from this dusty ground.” – Dry Bones, Branches
I was walking into work a few weeks ago, just enjoying the wind against my skin and the bounce in my steps upon the sidewalk. It was a good day. I smiled – thinking of all of the good things that God has blessed me with, when suddenly I heard Him speak to me, “It’s time to build up.”
I paused a minute, contemplating exactly what He meant, and then the same scripture came alive in my spirit once again; “there is a time to tear down, and a time to build up.”
Over the last year, I had been breaking down. Things had been tearing down and tearing a part in my life. But now, now was the time to start rebuilding after life’s storms. Now was the time to build from the ashes that Satan had once thought was defeat.
Now is the time for you to build up again.
As I left work that night, a song by the band Branches began to play from my Spotify playlist. The song was called, “Dry Bones,” and it couldn’t have been a more on time word or an on time moment from God.
The song speaks from Ezekiel chapter 37, the vision of the dry bones in the valley. From a theological perspective, this specific passage of scripture is referring to the Holocaust, and the Lord first asking Ezekiel if the dry bones he sees can ever live again. God then tells Ezekiel to prophesy to the bones and tell them to come alive – and they do. God later tells Ezekiel that the dry bones that were dead but now alive are, indeed, Israel.
But a different meaning to those scriptures came to mind as I drove home singing the beautiful melody; it seemed that for the longest time, my life had been a pile of dry bones. Everything hurt, and everything around me appeared to be lifeless. But amidst all of my heartache, and against all the arrows of deception that the enemy fired into my mind, God had a different plan for my pain. God spoke life into my dry bones. He lifted me up from that pit of torment. He breathed his breath into me. He breathed his Spirit into me, and I lived.
God is not only the Creator of life, but He is also the Restorer of Life.
God has a purpose for your pain. You may not see it right now, and you may never be able to understand it, but everything that happens in life, and every season that we go through in life, God has a divine plan to work it all out for our good. You may never understand why certain things happened to you. You may never understand why those you loved decided to leave you. And that’s okay. Sometimes, we’re not meant to understand it, but we are meant to know that – no matter what season of life we go through, not matter what storm may harbor around us, and no matter how long our bones have been lying in a dry valley … no season will last forever – every storm has to end - and every dry bone will be called eventually to come back alive. There are very many afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord will deliver him out of them all (Psalm 34:19).
Even when the fight seems lost, I’ll praise you
Even when it hurts like hell, I’ll praise You
Even when it makes no sense to sing louder
Then I’ll sing Your praise
I will only sing Your praise.
- -Even When It Hurts (Praise Song) by Hillsong