By Angel and Angelo Casiano
Back in September 2010, I did one of many devotionals with my children. This time I discussed with them the amazing story of Ezekiel and “The Valley of Dry Bones” told in Ezekiel 37:1-14. I told my children that I felt inspired to write a fictional story of a soldier who died and whose bones were also in that valley. I started working on the story with difficulty but was able to write some things down. My son, Angelo, who was a teenager at the time, without my knowledge, was also working on developing a similar story. I then asked Angelo, to put our materials together. We discussed the focus of the story, and I am amazed by how similar our writing styles are! My son was the editor of many of my writings and I am very proud that God was so gracious to give us this fictional story together. I hope you enjoy the story and that you find yourself inspired and strengthened as you face your valley of dry bones.
The 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. 2 He 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. 3 He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.” 4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! 5 This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. 6 I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’” 7 So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. 8 I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them. 9 Then he said to me, “Prophecy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’” 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army. 11 Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’12 Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13 Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. 14 I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord.’”
Ezekiel 37:1-14 (NIV)
The attacks upon us were vigorous, as our enemies showed no mercy in their flogging and torturing. They came from every corner, more numerous than ever imaginable. I saw our numbers diminish, and our line appeared more scattered as every precious second passed. Our enemies were smarter with astuteness far superior to our best men combined. Though we knew the penalty of our upheaval, we refused to deter; the worst defeat is submitting to what we recognize as erroneous. We desired to fight, fight for our deliverance. Though the circumstances were detrimental, we knew one thing; we had to succeed in this war.
As this brawl continued, I could heed the voices of the prophets. I could visualize the tremendous wonders performed by the God of my nation. I stood valiantly with a greater poise against my duelers. I was assured that my God would exemplify His mercy and re-establish us to the unity, prosperity, wisdom, and tranquility of the era of Solomon. I was convinced that we would have in the midst of us the almighty fear that David and his men inflicted in the psyche and flesh of the nations. I was unquestionably persuaded that my God would manifest His valor as He did with Moses. Conversely, one by one, we were trampled; for this clash presented no withdrawal. Our enemies did not even wish to settle for our surrender but wanted to check us and observe as our inhalation ceased. My optimism dimmed until my faith became an unnoticeable trace of webbing floating amidst my heart. I befell as the last to stand, as they all encircled me, all fervent and ravenous for blood; and then…nothing.
I was placed in a void.
We were dishonorably conquered and destroyed by the viciousness of a most dominant and dexterous opponent. God did not meet us on the battlefield; we were left to expire. We did not enjoy the respectful burials of warriors. We were forgotten as a valley of soldiers whose dreams were decomposing by the passing of the reality of time. No one came to see us; a headstone containing the imprints of our obituaries was never constructed; our families abandoned even the memory of our names.
How could this happen? Where was my God? Did He notice my pain? Is it over? “Can I ever recover from this addiction? Am I always going to be judged by the mistakes of my past? Can I finish that degree? Will I ever pay off my debt, get that promotion I am waiting for; be healed of this cancer? Will I die of aids? Will my children ever recover? Can my spouse ever change? Can this marriage make it? Will I recover from this divorce?”
Year after year, I saw my carcass develop into dust; we were no longer comprised of any individualism; we became a vast gorge of desiccated bones! It was truly over! My clash had ended, and we were condemned to an embarrassing disappointment.
Nevertheless, just before the puzzling genesis of the four winds readied itself to erase the final indications of our existence in the atmosphere; the Word of the Lord was proclaimed as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob asked an astounding query that defiled any degree of reason and natural possibilities:
“…Son of man, can these bones live?” (Ezekiel 37:3)
And the prophet of the day; the Man of God by the name of Ezekiel; believed that only God could do such a thing and so he tells the story:
“So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and suddenly a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to bone. Indeed, as I looked, the sinews and the flesh came upon them, and the skin covered them over; but there was no breath in them.
Also, He said to me, “Prophecy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.” ‘ “So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army.” (Ezekiel 37:7-10)
What a fool I was, to essentially consider that God was in no way present and that His Word was not Truth. By the authority of God, we stood as “an exceedingly great army.” Our honor was restored, our story will never be forgotten, and our testimonies exist to arouse countless victories around the world, no matter what their conditions or situations may be. Even with my uncertainty, God confirmed that nothing is unfeasible for Him. And so, I must embrace a query of my own…what is broken that God cannot fix? What adversities do you face that God cannot transform? Consider the valley of oppression you may lie in wait, and bear in mind that this fight is not over or lost; for God is the Alpha and the Omega and the Determiner of what begins and what ends.
The actual anecdote of this warrior may be fiction, but the power of God is as true then as it is today! The pain that you are feeling even as you read these words is also real. Each of us faces our own “valley of dry-bones” situations. But tell me…what is impossible for God?
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