Carried To, and Through the Valley

We are having revival meetings at our church this week and on the second night of the revival, the speaker Evangelist Matthew Eckart preached on the Valley of Dry Bones. He drew attention to the first verse where he stressed that Ezekiel didn’t get lost and wonder into the valley.  He wasn’t led there by an enemy out to destroy him along with the army of dry bones already disbursed in the valley.  The Scriptures say God carried him there!

“The hand of the Lord was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones,”  Ezekiel 37:1 KJV

He was spiritually carried there!  We do not always picture God picking us up and carrying us TO our lowest experiences. We say all the time, “God will carry me through it”, but I’m not sure most of us picture God possibly carrying us to it.  I started hearing the song lyrics in my heart:  “God of the mountain is still God of the valley!”

Over the past few years we have had a challenging walk through a valley experience that included two floods of our home and a spiritual attack on two families that, for a still uncertain reason, is costing us a deep personal relationship with our son, daughter in law, and our first granddaughter born a week ago – leaving a wide gaping hole in our hearts.  Under a tremendous weight of anxiety our faith was being challenged over and over.  My effectiveness in the ministries I love with a passion was paused by being in survival mode. At times, I had to cling desperately to my faith.  In the hardest moments in the valley I reminded myself daily, “as hard as this is right now, I have to keeping trusting that God has a reason for it all.”  I kept leaning on Romans 28 and diving into worship. Every time I heard the song “Even If,” I would break down trying to sing it. I didn’t want to serve in that season, but I couldn’t lose faith in my God!

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28 KJV

Indeed, I can relate to Ezekiel’s answer to God’s question in the next verse.

And he said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord God, you know.” 

Only God knows what all it means, and how He will use it for His GLORY!

The services were powerful, and on the third night of the revival, Brother Matt preached on the Holy Spirit and we entered into another very powerful altar service.  I was struggling to connect and enter in, dealing with emotions and in a bit of a funk that day.  I kept my feet planted in the sound booth pretty much using the need to serve there as an excuse to stay put, even though the need to be engaged in the booth was long past. I expect many have been there!  I started to hear in my spirit something that a man said years ago at another revival in Louisiana:

“The church was having revival and experiencing an amazing move of GOD, while I sat in my pew and let revival pass me by.” 

I started to tell myself I cannot let revival pass me by.  After not budging for most of the altar service, I finally went up to the altar and kneeled to pray.  In that moment, I was once again pouring out my heart about my son asking for God’s help, because everything I try seems to dead end and nothing makes sense.  Our first granddaughter being born on February 1st increased the already deep painful emotions for the loss of a relationship with my son.

I feel the need to say strongly here, I am being very vulnerable about what I am going through, and nothing here is intended to cause any further offense to my precious son.  I love him and his new family very much, and I recognize we were both under a deep spiritual attack that became way too personal for all involved.  I seek forgiveness for any offense I unwittingly caused in that season, and offer my forgiveness unconditionally for the offenses I unwittingly accepted into my heart.

You wonder sometimes if the Lord hears you, but God revealed Himself to me in that moment.  As I was praying, Brother Matt came and prayed over me.  As he finished praying, he stopped and said something along these lines:

“This may sound crazy, but I’m going to give it to you like I’m getting it from God.  I see a keyboard with a screen and series of scrambled letters that seem strange and make no sense to me what they might mean.  God then indicated to me He is about to create something beautiful for you out of what seems like a complete mess.”

He is going to do it! It isn’t for me to fix or figure out, but God was reassuring me He has a plan and He will work it out!  I took it as an answer to my prayer, and can now look forward with renewed hope knowing God has all of this and it all has meaning.  God is starting a great work, and I’m excited for this next season.

I read years ago in a Carman book, “Don’t forget in the darkness what you learned in the light.”  The quote is attributed to Joseph Bayly.  The statement stuck with me as a reminder that, even in dark times that will surely come, we need to always remember God’s Word says:

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6 NIV

We need to put anchors in our faith for the mountain top moments in our life where we KNOW GOD IS REAL because the light is so bright, and use those moments to remind ourselves even in the dark valley – God is with me!  Many are walking through your own personal valley.  I hope this serves as an encouragement to you.  I will close praying these words from Ezekiel 37 over you, and may God use even your valley experiences to always strengthen your faith in Him!

4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. 5 Thus says the Lord God to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. 6 And I will lay sinews upon you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live, and you shall know that I am the Lord.”