Is there Hope for Reconciliation?
I sat quietly in the pew, not sure of what lay ahead. Although I was listening intently to what the preacher had to say, I couldn’t shake the overwhelming feeling of darkness that loomed over me. I was in the midst of one of the biggest trials of my life – stuck in a personal prison that had overtaken me.
Over the years I had lost people. I had lost all trust in people. And the fears… the fears grew like huge monsters that loomed overhead. All of it was a sticky sickly mess that I had found myself in. The gunk, the dark dingy sin had grown from a few tiny seeds and over the course of time it had multiplied and magnified until darkness was all I could see. I had lost my focus on the only one who could lead me out of this valley.
You see, there was family whom I hadn’t spoken with for six years. After a huge fall out, I didn’t believe I could give them another chance. I was trying to protect myself and my family from being even more hurt and more broken than we already were. It was a devastating time.
Suddenly the pastor spoke as he read the words from the scripture: “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. 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. He asked me, ‘Son of man, can these bones live?’ I said, ‘Sovereign Lord, you alone know.'” Ezekiel 37:4-6
The words struck me. You alone know. Ezekiel had made a point that all too often I forget. Maybe we all forget. It’s so simple. God alone knows. He knows the truth. He knows the future. He knows how all of this will play out. He knows the ending, the beginning, the here and now. He alone knows the why. He knows what can be fixed, what will be delivered, what will be uncovered.
I sat there for a moment and pondered the piercing truth of these statements. How could I trust the Lord with my heavenly inheritance but not trust Him with the present? How could I not trust him with my smallish problems? How could I not believe Him with the very creation he created? Was there hope for reconciliation?
“So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.” Ezekiel 37:7-8
He didn’t just hear the words of God – he acted upon them. He did exactly what he was supposed to do. It dawned on me as I thought of him standing there. He was looking at a valley of dried up dead bones. These weren’t newly dead bodies – there was no hope for these people. Their flesh was gone and there were just bones left.
He looked at those dead bones and didn’t say to himself, “how stupid is this – there is literally no way this will work. They are a hopeless cause. I’m wasting my time and resources on such a worthless pile of bones. They are dead and they aren’t coming back. ” He stared out at the bleak landscape and did EXACTLY the opposite of what our human nature dictates. He did what God had commanded he do.
Do you see what happened? The bones started to come together. Flesh began to appear. Skin grew. That is because when we listen to God’s voice, He doesn’t just speak, He moves us. When we follow His commands what seemed impossible suddenly is possible.
Notice, though, that there was still a problem. The problem was that there was no breath. If Ezekiel had been like I had been he might have given up at that point. Whenever I hit a wall, I was finished. I would give up and go off to my corner sulking. I was defeated yet again. But God spoke again.
“Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’” So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.” Ezekiel 37:9-10
As I read the text a weight was lifted off of me. Suddenly realizing how wrong I had been for years I pleaded with God for forgiveness. I give God all the glory that will still forgive us even when we mess up and even when we haven’t been listening. Even when we seem hopeless, with God there is always hope.
During the years that we didn’t have contact with parts of our family I was given a lot of reassurance from the world around me. There are all kinds of information on toxic people out there. There are many resources on how to protect yourself or how to walk away from people who don’t deserve you. I know many of you might be in the place I was years ago. All hope is lost. You truly believe the people and situations in question can never ever change. You might even be angry at me as I write this to you. I know full and well that sometimes reconciliation takes years and seems irrational or impossible. I know that and I know that it takes stepping out in faith. It means deciding to forgive. It means opening your heart to hope in what our God of the impossible can truly do.
I hope you know that if you or your child are in danger of being physically harmed by a loved one, then seek the help you need. Don’t stay in a relationship where you might put yourself in a dangerous situation.
In our case we chose to move slowly through counselling and through having a relationship with some distance between us to start with. We started off with many safeguards in place to protect ourselves from the things we feared in our relationship. We slowly progressed to a more typical relationship. Now, our love for these people is bigger than it ever was and our relationship with them is much stronger. God had truly done the miraculous in healing our hearts, our wounds, and wiping our tears from our eyes.
Like I said above, although I still think there are times and situations when taking a step back from a harmful relationship makes sense, giving up all hope does not. Many times fall outs happen because of unkind words, nastiness, conceit, pride, anger, jealousy and many other reasons. None of it is good and most likely it is a result of sin somewhere along the line. Just to be clear – even if it is completely the other person’s fault giving up all hope for certain people is not the right answer. That is not the example God laid out for his people. We all need forgiveness and we all need a savior. The truth doesn’t lie in how wrong they are. It doesn’t matter how much we can do to mend this relationship or how much the other person is willing to change. The truth is in our God and what He is able to accomplish. He is a God of hope, love, reconciliation and a God that does the impossible. I’m thankful everyday that God showed me this truth: because God is the God of the impossible, there is hope for reconciliation.