Hope For A Comatose Church

Aug 18

Hope For A Comatose Church

When a patient is in ICU, what family and friends want more than anything else is hope.

With that in mind, there IS hope for the comatose church.

But that hope isn’t in better models for doing church. Or improved leadership training. Or more money for hiring better-talented staff and starting up new programs/ministries.

None of those things can revive what is almost dead. The only thing that can revive us isn’t a thing, but a Person.

In Ezekiel 37, God shows the prophet Ezekiel a valley full of dry, dead bones and asks him if they can be made alive again. A person with no hope would say, “Nope.” An idiot, or a person who doesn’t fully understand the circumstances would say, “Sure, just give them some medicine!” But Ezekiel answers smartly, “God, only you know the answer to that question.”

Truth is, outside of God doing anything, there is absolutely no hope for those bones. Can/will God do anything with those bones? Well, we can’t speak or make promises for God, but here’s what we CAN do: we can trust and obey God.

The only hope for a comatose church is for its leaders to stop pretending things are better than they are, to stop denying the reality of the situation by trying this program or that program, or seeking answers from church leadership summits or growth seminars, but to also not give up hope and throw in the towel when they see the magnitude of the situation–but instead for these leaders to be willing to earnestly seek God, and then to trust God and obey Him. Because our only hope is for God to do something miraculous. And it’s very risky/scary to trust God for a miracle. We leaders want to be able to do something to fix the situation. It’s scary to place things into God’s hands and trust/hope in Him.

But when your loved one is in ICU, you have no other options. Even the strongest skeptics are earnestly praying to God in that moment.

God tells Ezekiel to do a bold thing: preach to the dry bones. Can you imagine following these orders?

“Speak a prophetic message to these bones and say, ‘Dry bones, listen to the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Look! I am going to put breath into you and make you live again! I will put flesh and muscles on you and cover you with skin. I will put breath into you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”

Imagine somebody with you in that valley, watching you preach this message. Would you not feel like a fool? My initial reaction to the situation is to move on. They’re dead bones. There’s no hope. Let’s find some bones we can work with. Why waste your breath preaching to dry bones? Dry bones can’t “listen to the word of the Lord,” so why tell them to do that?

I believe God is asking Ezekiel to do this simply to teach him to trust in God. If God tells you to do something that seems foolish, will you still do it, and believe that what God is prophesying He will do…that He will do it?

Then he said to me, “Son of man, these bones represent the people of Israel. They are saying, ‘We have become old, dry bones—all hope is gone. Our nation is finished.’ Therefore, prophesy to them and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: O my people, I will open your graves of exile and cause you to rise again. Then I will bring you back to the land of Israel. When this happens, O my people, you will know that I am the Lord. I will put my Spirit in you, and you will live again and return home to your own land. Then you will know that I, the Lord, have spoken, and I have done what I said. Yes, the Lord has spoken!’”

There is great hope in the Lord.

One comment

  1. All we have, including our hope, has to come from God. Indeed. I do believe that God uses our situations, education, and even our personality flaws, imperfect backgrounds, and everything else for His purposes.

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