This week I watched the vice-presidential debate. Well, I actually watched the debate and an old rerun of Law and Order at the same time. I couldn’t really handle just the debate. At the end of the evening, I did give my full attention to the critique of the debate. Some thought Sen. Kamala Harris had won and others thought Vice President Mike Pence had won. Overall, everyone agreed that the debate would have no impact on the presidential election itself. Wow, that had to hurt. Can you imagine all the hours spent by Sen. Harris and Vice President Pence preparing for the debate, and before their heads hit their pillows, everyone had already dismissed it? But that is sometimes just a reality in life. Sometimes the very thing we pull all our efforts into doesn’t seem to really make any difference.
I have often poured all my heart and soul into events or projects only to wonder afterwards if anyone was impacted for the sake of the Kingdom of God. Did anyone reap a blessing or feel any closer to God after all the work I had done? It is in those times that I often think of the Old Testament prophets. They truly had the worst jobs of all. God would lay a message on their hearts to warn the people of Israel that they needed to clean up their act and return to the one true God. God in his love and mercy warned the people that they were headed down a dangerous path. But those people were like me. They didn’t always take the warning seriously or they were so distracted by their lives that they had stopped listening. The prophets were obedient, but they were not successful. The warnings were always ignored.
One story in particular has always left a deep impression on me. It is the prophet Ezekiel who was called to be a prophet to the Israelites during their time of captivity in Babylon. The young prophet Ezekiel has a vision from God of a field of dead soldiers. A field of old dry bones.
37 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! (Ezekiel 37:1-4)
I don’t think you can get anymore hopeless than a field of dry bones. All the life, all the hope for those former individuals is now gone. That is in human terms. But when God is involved, life is never hopeless. It does not matter how bad it may look for us. It does not matter if we believe that all we have worked for, all we have strived for has failed. In God’s economy, He can bring life to dry bones. If He can do that, well He can take our work, our faith, our life and He can use it to make a difference in this world for the sake of the Kingdom of God. We just simply have to remember who our source is and keep our eyes fixed on Him.