Whatever It Takes

January 4, 2022

“This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones, ‘I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life’” (Ezekiel 37:5, NIV).

One of my patients died recently from lung cancer. Today his sister-in-law told me a story. “You don’t know this, but our two sons had not talked to each other for five years. It was breaking our hearts.” (During those years both sons had been through personal crises: one with his wife’s health and the other with an unfair incarceration.) “When my brother-in-law died, my son Matthew, who had not been home for five years, decided to come to the funeral. He and his uncle had been very close. When he told me he was coming, I asked him, ‘Please meet with your brother at least once when you are in town.’ He agreed to do so, and what a blessing; they discovered that each had changed in their years apart. In fact, James has just now returned from a four-day vacation to visit Matthew. He sent phone pictures showing them with their arms around each other.”

God’s best work is building beauty from ashes. No one can do it like He can. In this story, three significant crises, all hard, all filled with anxiety and suffering, all worked together to move lives toward reunion. God is in the reunion business, and to do so He is out to transform us, whatever it takes. I don’t know, and I frankly doubt that God caused any of the three crises in that family. I do know that God took the dry bones of that broken relationship, mixed it with the struggles in the lives of these two brothers and the death of a saint—and made those dry bones walk again.

God does this over and over in our lives. He takes the tragedies of our lives as if they were lumps of very dark clay. He spits on them like Jesus did the blind (Mark 9:23), and then He mashes and remolds them into bright and golden spears with which he pierces the heart of darkness. The darkness may be terrifying and the mashing hurts, but God is glorified and His kingdom comes.

We need to be aware and amazed. God’s major work in this world is transformation and reunion. He changes us so we might forgive each other. He changes us so He might forgive us as well. He will do whatever it takes to accomplish our reunion with Him. He placed Himself on a human cross and felt the pain of a Father rejecting His only Son so we might be one with Him again.

We are the only ones who can prevent the change that is necessary in our lives, the change that will bring us home to the Father. God will do whatever it takes to get us there. Sometimes, “whatever it takes” is a Christian family that introduces us to Jesus when we are young. And sometimes, “whatever it takes” hurts so deeply and so long that only after the Father has taken us into His arms do we cry out with profound sincerity, “This was worth it.”

Dear Father,
Thank You for Your work with dry bones.

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