He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” I said, “O Sovereign Lord, you alone know.” (Ezek. 37:3)

MARK WAS A GIFTED ATHLETE who, as a high school junior, had severely injured his right knee in a springtime basketball game. Mark was still on crutches four months later when we met at summer church camp. “Is there any hope for me?” Mark asked. “All I really know is sports.” But Mark’s youth pastor and friends had mentioned to me that Mark was really good at leading Bible studies among his peers. It was easy for me to suggest that he explore his options while his knee healed. “Mark, Christian colleges are always looking for athletes. Maybe you can train for ministry, teaching, or coaching while you play ball.” Mark sat up straight and nodded. Maybe there was hope after all.

When Ezekiel found himself in a valley of dry bones, he may have thought that God was simply reminding him about Israel’s sorry state of apostasy and exile. But you can almost hear the hope in Ezekiel’s voice as he recognized that God, the source of true hope, might consider restoring life to His people.

Mark is now a teacher, coach, and youth group leader. He realized that God held out hope for him, even when all he could see was his injury. I think Ezekiel understood, even though he was surrounded by dry bones, that God is never limited by our hopelessness.

Ask God to show you reasons to hope where you feel challenged.

Steve Wamberg is a husband, dad, writer, and pastor who loves preaching, teaching, music, coffee, and Nebraska football.

© 2017 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.