I started telling myself a story of failure and forsakenness. In the first story, I began recountingthe past 20 years and questioned every decision I ever made. In the second story, I questionedGod’s faithfulness.Both stories battled in my imagination. Some days I’d think every decision I ever made was a bad one. Other days, I wonder why God chose to make me fail in everything I touched. I criedout to God, “Look at all I sacrificed for you! Why won’t you help me?”The stories stole my joy. My gifted wife saw these false stories as a deathlike grip that wasconsuming me. In the midst of these discouraging tales, I had to hear again the Gospel story, or the good news God’s faithfulness.Israel had to hear the Gospel story. Her existence depended on it. After generations of forgettingthe stories of YHWH’s lovingkindness, Israel had become apostate. God in his goodness preserved them and honored the obedience of a few righteous kings, but eventually He gavethem over to their false stories.Babylon led the broken people into captivity. Babylon burned down the Temple. Babylondestroyed the land.The people wept. Their songs and their stories failed them. So they hung up the harp and quitsinging altogether. Now they lived in an alien land with alien gods. Abandoned by the God of their fathers. Lost in the darkness. They needed to hear the Gospel story.Into this dark story of exile, appears a strange man who sees a strange light. Ezekiel encountersthe glory of the Lord. The glory that once resided in the Holy of Holies appears to him on theshore of the Chebar canal while he stands among the exiles. To Ezekiel’s surprise, YHWH didnot abandon his people as they stood by dark waters. He came in the midst of wind and stormand fire; in the midst of the four living creatures; in the midst of the sound of many water.YHWH came in glory.And He gave Ezekiel a new story, a Gospel story. As Ezekiel talked, ate, sang and acted out theWord of the Lord, he exposed Israel’s sickly condition. He revealed the death that infected their worship, their imagination, their stories. He began to tell a story about a valley of dry bones.
I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I prophesied, there was a sound, and behold, arattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone.
And I looked, and behold, there weresinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them. But there was no breath in them.
Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say tothe breath, Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on theseslain, that they may live.”
So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them,and they lived and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army.
Then he said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Behold, they say,‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are indeed cut off.’
Therefore prophesy, andsay to them, Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I will open your graves and raise you from your graves, O my people. And I will bring you into the land of Israel.
And you shall know that I am
Telling, acting, eating, living the story by Doug Floyd,2