Can These Bones Live?

Joyce Shafer

Joyce L. Shafer

I just finished reading Erin Olson’s book, Spiritual Orphans: A Generation in Crisis. Published in 2019 (which feels like a lifetime ago), it covers pre-COVID and pre-whatever-the-heck-you-want-to-call-what’s-happening-now topics. Yet, so often, she could have been writing a contemporary Blog, as some of this same “stuff” was going on then. For our purposes, I suggest we change the subtitle to Every Generation Is in Crisis, because many of us share something major with each subsequent generation: A number of us, in our own way, are spiritual orphans.

In a prophetic vision in Ezekiel 37:1-14, God took Ezekiel to a valley filled with dry bones bleached white in the sun, and asked His prophet if the bones could live. If you’re not familiar with that scripture, look it up online—I suggest the English Standard Version (ESV) for easy reading. Familiar or not, here’s a recap: God rebuilt each body from the bones out, and then He put breath back into them. He put life back into them. He revived them. A prophetic revival of dry bones. These days, prayer warriors and intercessors pray for revival. You hear this on prayer calls and see it on social site memes. Anne Graham Lotz wrote, “Revival begins when you draw a circle around yourself and make sure everything in that circle is right with God.” Kind of like, Put your own oxygen mask on first.

Some of us are waking up to the state of our country, our One Nation Under God, which needs to also lead us to consider the state of our relationship with the Lord. Are the bones of each of those healthy and strong or are they dry and brittle from lack of attention? Revival is about transformation—from the inside out. Relationship with the Father is what creates true transformation in us. The further out of relationship we are with the Father, the further we are from being our best selves. Erin Olson wrote, “God has revealed our ‘dry bones.’ Indeed He has.

She also wrote, “We need to stop praying for revival because it is already here right in front of our faces every single day!” What many forget or don’t know about revival is that one thing, and one thing only, opens the door to revival: Repentance. The problem with repentance for many is that we not only have to admit what we did (and often enjoyed) was a sin, we also have to stop doing it. It means some of what we’ve always thought, said, and did that we’re no longer to do, may trigger those in our sphere of influence. We gain and risk loss at the same time, which is exactly what Jesus said could or would happen when we choose God and the grace of His Salvation over pleasing those in the world.

Spiritually speaking, the racket going on all around us is caused by the sounds of dry bones creaking, cracking, and complaining as generations of spiritual beliefs and cultures clash. It’s the sound made by the absence of proper nurturing. We are to repent and ask for God’s help with this, and begin to apply nurturing balm to this dryness, our own and that of others. Where do we get this balm?

Olson wrote, “Lost people are not the enemy. They are victims of the enemy.” This applies to us and to them. She also stated this:

The battle is not won with our words hurled at people, but it is won in our hearts. If you love people enough and care about this world, your nation, your city, your family, your friends, and your neighbor, the darkness in this world should alarm you. The great news is that it is never too dark for God’s light to penetrate.

How about instead of yelling at people and cursing those who are in the darkness, we shine our lights really bright so the spiritual orphans can find their way home to their Father? He can change anyone’s heart just like He did with yours.

One way to begin the healing process is to stop adding insult to injury. Time to cease adding darkness to darkness and add light instead.

God’s enemy (you know who I mean), fueled by pride, rebelled and left his First Estate—his Father’s Kingdom. He made himself an orphan. Ever since God made us in His image and breathed His own Spirit into us, the enemy has wanted to destroy us. One of his tactics is to get us to be spiritual orphans as well, to move as far away from the Father, His love, grace, and mercy, and His Kingdom as the enemy can get us to go. Part of the ploy is to trick us into believing we, alone, create our reality and provide for our needs. Jesus emphasized repeatedly: We are not alone. God wants us to be His family, a truth found all throughout scripture. The caveat is that we have to choose to become members of His family, and then become responsible members, representing our Father, His Kingdom, and the family well, and according to His righteous ways, not our carnal preferences or prideful natures. We are to become lights in the darkness, with the Father as our Eternal Flame.

We’ve all had at least one turn at being lost in some measure at some time. Whether it was a person or God Himself who reached out to us, it was like dry bones coming back to life or, at least, starting to. How many ways have we and subsequent generations been made to believe we are spiritual orphans, a belief that siphons moisture from our spiritual bones? The choice to change this is ours. Our Father has proven how far He is willing to go to save us; that, yes, these bones can live.

I truly thank my God, my Father, that all things are possible with Him. I truly thank Him for putting in writing that we are to walk by faith, not by sight. He knew these times were coming and warned us, warned us not to let our spiritual bones go dry. Knowing this would happen, He even provided the balm that can revive them: healing begins at the Cross.

May the Spirit and peace of the Lord that surpasses all understanding be upon you, your loved ones, and your lives.








  1. Judith LeBlanc says

    Great article, and so appropriate for these hectic times we are living in at the moment.

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