Week 4: Have Hope

Scripture Readings:

Ezekiel 37:1-14 - Valley of the Dry Bones
John 11:1-46 - Lazarus is Raised from the Dead

As we read of dry bones lying in the valley dismembered and scattered, they appear beyond any hope for regeneration. And yet, God speaks through the prophet and that which was dead lives again. We have hope!  Doubt, despair, pity and hopelessness challenge us all. Life can overwhelm. But God offers a life-giving fresh movement of the spirit, “All will be well.”

Why Is It Well?

Gracious and Holy God,

As the words rise from my lips
and fall upon the ears of the world
I ask myself, “Why is it well with my soul?”

It is well because I have resigned myself
to the belief that my present circumstances
will dictate my future or control my destiny?
It is well because the God I serve intervenes
in circumstances and turns them into possibilities
and opportunities not yet envisioned.

It is well because I have accepted that those who
persecute me will always have the upper hand?
It is well because the God of deliverance 
has already mapped the course for my
victory and felled the arrows in flight.

It is well because I have acquiesced to the notion
that my very being is flawed, detestable, or undesirable?
It is well because the God of creation has whispered in my ear
that my being, 
my essence,
my core,
is precious, noble, exquisite, beautiful, brilliant and blessed.

It is well because I have believed that joy and security
will only be mine in the life to come?
It is well because God has assured me that I will live
to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

It is well with my soul because today God is able –
right here and right now –
to transform and transcend,
breakthrough and bestow,
cleanse and create,
liberate and love.

It is well! Amen. 

– by LaTrelle Miller Easterling, September 16, 2014

Moment of Reflection:

What situation seems dead, dried-up or devoid of possibility in your life? Do you believe God can speak new life into it?

If you are doing this study in a small group, take turns sharing your responses. After each person speaks, the group will respond: 
“God has put God’s breath in you. Rise up! Live!”

After you have finished sharing, discuss:

  • Is it well with your soul? Why?
  • For your faith community, how is hope a spiritual discipline and a declarative proclamation? Are you willing to prophecy to the dry bones in our valleys?
Closing Hymn:

“It is Well with My Soul,” UMH #377