God Only Knows
After he shows Ezekiel just how desperate the situation is in the valley, God asks the prophet an important question: "Son of man, can these bones live?" (Ezekiel 37:3a).
How would you answer that question? I heard someone on television the other day say that America is on the brink of the greatest Christian revival the world has ever seen. He said it as if it was just a matter of time -- an absolute certainty. I hope he's right, but I don't know how he knows that. Does that guy have some insider information I don't have? Or is he just making stuff up? There's a great danger in confusing optimism with faith. Ezekiel could have said yes, but he didn't.
Ezekiel could have said no. And I've heard some other Christians say that things are going from bad to worse and will until Jesus comes back. There's a popular book out right now asking whether or not we are living in the midst of the last Christian generation. That's a little presumptuous to begin with -- asserting that there is such a thing as a Christian generation. It's also a little pessimistic. I hope that author is wrong, but, again, who knows?
Ezekiel refused to answer in either direction. He simply said, "O sovereign Lord, you alone know" (v. 3b).
Have you ever asked someone a question and had them reply, "God only knows"? Here's a situation where that answer is truly appropriate. God only knows what the future holds. Will there be a revival in America? God only knows. Will our religious freedoms be eroded to the point where we have state-sanctioned and state-approved churches? God only knows.
Ezekiel was saying, "There is no way I can know what you will do with these dry bones. You have the ability to make them live again, but I don't know if you have the desire to do that."
We need that kind of humility in our day. We need an attitude that says, "Keep me from the arrogance that claims to know how everything is going to work out. Keep me from the presumption that believes I can make this happen on my own."
We also need that kind of faith. We need to say, "Keep me from the unbelief that says these dark days and difficult times are no match for your power."
Ezekiel would neither despair or presume. He found his rest in the sovereignty of God. And so must we.
I don't know if the future of the church in America is revival or decline. God only knows. I don't know if the people I pray for will come to faith or not. God only knows. I don't know if the missionary doors that are opening around the world right now will remain open or begin closing. God only knows.
If God knows -- and if I believe him to be trustworthy -- I can resign as emperor of the universe. I can find rest in God's sovereignty.