Marriage in the Valley

As a young Christian I yearned to be mightily used for God’s glory. Now, 40+ years later, I still have that yearning but I’m more accustomed to the process involved. Hence my zeal is more patient and tempered. Having logged some experience in regards to the investment required on my end, I’m much more comfortable with a slower pace unto fruition.

Speaking of a glorious assignment, Ezekiel is a man that experienced firsthand the glory of God. He was even given a scroll with writing front and back, just like Jesus in Revelation, chapter five. How cool is that!?

He heard the sounds of glory, the wings of the living creatures as they touched one another. (Ezekiel 3:13) The prophet described it as “the voice of a great earthquake.” It was speaking, “Blessed be the glory of the Lord from its place.” In the midst of this glory, the Spirit lifted Ezekiel up and took him away, placing him with the exiles from the Babylonian captivity. His response: “And I sat there overwhelmed among them seven days.” (3:15)

New assignments can be overwhelming on the front end can’t they?

“Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me.” (3:17) God had already made it clear that Israel would not listen to the prophet, but justice demanded that they have ample opportunity to hear.

Years later, moving with a glorious escort of the Spirit, Ezekiel had a ringside seat in the valley of dry bones (Ezekiel 37). He prophesied according to the Lord’s instruction and the earth shook once again. Earthquakes (shaking) seem to be his forte.

The story is a familiar one: bones rattling, coming together “bone to bone”, sinews, flesh, and skin, followed by the breath of God to raise them up as a great army. Shaking breaks things apart and destroys; it also assembles and connects.

Shaking is often a creative process; a set-up for the breath of the Spirit.

No matter what your valley of dry bones might be, there is hope. I’ve seen many however, forfeit their healing, because they ran from the shaking. Or they’ve missed their rendezvous with a transitional ending, insisting on propping up an old wine-skin.

We chafe at the idea of sitting too long in a valley.

My observation, drawn from thirty-five years of pastoral ministry, is that the majority of failed Christian marriages were premature departures from the valley. They forfeited the creative ending, deeming the process unbearable.

Great armies (and marriages) in God, are filled with broken people who have stood with great resolve to receive and embrace the Spirit in the valley.