“It cannot be seen, cannot be felt,
Cannot be heard, cannot be smelt,
It lies behind stars and under hills,
And empty holes it fills,
It comes first and follows after,
Ends life, kills laughter.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit
One of my favorite authors and stories of all time, J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit speaks of an all to familiar friend. Can you riddle me the answer…
A familiar friend to most who are real enough to admit it. The pervading aroma of death and decay. Ever experienced it’s embrace? I think we all have, I know I have. Darkness in life, relationship, circumstances, self perception, career and purpose to name a few. It’s everywhere we look, it’s everywhere we are. We live in a world where darkness is our reality. So why then are we called upon during this season of Lent to stare into the face of darkness. It’s a time when we are beckoned to look deep into the darkness within our own souls. Those black and lifeless parts of us where sin and betrayal reside. Why? My response, to say the least, is that I don’t like it . I don’t want to pear into the darkness of my soul, in fact I spend much of my time convincing myself that it isn’t there. Why in the world would you have me focus upon it.
Ezekiel 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?”
What if in it’s obvious tendencies to promote death and despair darkness could be harnessed to reveal a greater truth! As the Lord led Ezekiel in a vision out into a valley of bones, death and darkness all around, He asks him a very odd and I think unexpected question.
Can these dry bones live?
When we look deep within during this time of Lent, I believe God is not wanting us to fall into deeper despair because of the reality of the darkness that lives inside of us all. No, I believe He beckons us to see our darkness, our dry bones, to open our eyes to the truth that we desperately need life! It’s a realization that is vital to the survival of our souls and the fulfillment of our lives and is one we cannot come to without seeing the true state of our souls. When our darkness is seen for what it is life bursts in. A life that comes from the one who is asking the unexpected of you and me today.
Can your dry bones live?
I’m looking forward to discovering His answer to that question as we journey through this time of Lent together for the weeks leading up to Easter! So, are you ready? Lets gaze into the darkness of our souls together, I don’t know about you but I desperately want to see Him answer that question in me.