When humans try on their own to move fully from suffering into new life, it is impossible. Only God can breathe new life into dry, lifeless & suffering humans.
July is the time of year when all of creation seems to come alive. Trees, shrubs, flowers & vegetable gardens all burst forth in bloom & wildlife such as deer, birds, rabbits, even butterflies & other wildlife all seem to rapidly multiply. It is joy filled season for sure, with all of creation proclaiming the glory of our Creator God. Understandably, this season of new life is the most popular season of the year for people to gather for: Memorial Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Independence Day, family reunions, graduation celebrations, weddings, travel & family vacations. July is a beautiful time of year fill with joy, gratitude & hope.
However, as we all know, regardless of the particular season of the year we may be living in, though we do experience extreme beauty & joy in our lives, we also experience suffering. It cannot be denied that regardless of what particular environmental season we may be living in, life for all of God’s creation consists of both beauty & suffering. Unfortunately, we cannot stay on the summit forever; we have to come down again, & sometimes when we move from seasons of beauty into the suffering life can bring, we often forget that God is with us through all our seasons, in both beauty & suffering that life brings & we give up.
There are many stories of the Bible that teach us how to journey through our various seasons. The story of the “valley of the dry bones” found in the book of Ezekiel 37:1-14, in many ways, is the story of our lives. It is a story of a people who were suffering & had given up all hope & how they moved from the suffering season, back into the season of beauty & new life. For the reality is, regardless of how challenging our suffering may be, it is possible to move from suffering back into new life. The people in our story had been cut off from their homeland & cut off from their lives. They were a broken people that felt dead inside & out, with no hope & no home. They felt their bones were all dried up & all hope was lost. We have all come to that point at some time in our life, haven’t we? We have experienced disease, pain, surgeries, the grief of losing loved ones to death, the grief of broken relationships, loss of jobs, financial hardships, disillusionment in life, depression, deep disappointment, anxiety, & conflict. We know all about what it means to be dried up, our hope lost, & to feel cut off completely, don’t we? Sometimes the pain & suffering we experience is so intense it can feel like we are actually suffocating.
When we are living in a season of suffering ourselves, very often all we can feel is that our very bones are tired, lifeless & will never heal & that we will never feel the fullness & beauty of life again. When you think of it, on our own when the life is sucked out of us, it makes sense that doubt would tend to sink into us as we ask ourselves whether there really is any reasonable hope that things will ever turn around. Do you know what I mean? Seriously, will the sick get well? Will the jobless get a job? Will the broken relationships be made whole again? Will the broken, despairing, lonely & grieving people be made whole again? These are haunting questions I would guess we all have asked in seasons of suffering one time or another. The truth is, try as we may, only God our Creator knows how to bring new life. Faith in our living God is the bedrock of all hope & hope is the fuel for all healing. When humans try on their own to move fully from suffering into new life, it is impossible. Only God can breathe new life into dry, lifeless & suffering humans.
~Posted by Rev Kathryn Bindig, MDiv. MS; Pastoral Care Minister with assistance from Rich Muscatello; Director of Business Development & Strategy
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