On Empty Valleys

Youth Daily Devotional Blog 05/22

Written by: Intern Sam B. Nguyen
Scripture Reading: Ezekiel 37:1-10
I went to Guitar Center today, an activity that I used to imagine as rather mundane but has become somewhat of an extraordinary experience. You see, I broke a string on my guitar not too long ago, and I needed to replace it. I ordered my strings online and, once they were shipped, drove over to the store for a curbside pickup. While the path to Guitar Center was mostly familiar to me, there was one striking part that I couldn’t shake. The freeways were almost empty. What roads would normally be packed from first to last lane were left with little more than open space and my little white Toyota Camry whistling through them.

I was reminded of this passage in Ezekiel, where God offers the prophet Ezekiel a vision of a dry valley. The valley is filled with bones that have been dried and bleached by time under the sun, the remnants of what was once there. Similarly, I could see the remains of what was once a bustling city around me. Buildings and litter that hadn’t been cleaned yet reminded me that these roads were, at one time, full — just as the bones were reminders of a life that once filled that valley in Ezekiel’s vision. In the passage, God asks Ezekiel if the bones can be brought to life, Ezekiel can only return the question to god. “O Lord God, you know” (Ezekiel 37:3). And God replies by breathing life into the bones.

Just as Ezekiel can only return God’s question back to God, we can really only trust God when looking at the empty valleys of our city. Will things return to the way they once were? Will we be able to recover from the pain that this pandemic has stricken us with? Will our friends and family survive this incredible strife? “O Lord God, you know.” And in trusting that God has that knowledge, perhaps God will respond just as God responded to Ezekiel all those years ago. By summoning life back into the valley. By returning peace and joy to our cities and our streets.