When Hope Smells Like Death

Do you ever look at your life and think, “What in the world happened here?” Does the pain of what could have been weigh heavy on your chest? Are there daily reminders that something is not {and may never be} the same? Does everything seem broken?

It’s a tough place for sure.


One of my favorite passages of Scripture is the Valley of Dry Bones found in Ezekiel 37. {A very important tip when reading Scripture: read aloud and slowly. You will be amazed at the things you catch that otherwise would have been skimmed over.} Take a moment and read {aloud and slowly} Ezekiel 37:1-14. It’s okay. I will wait.

Did you do it? Great.

In verse 1-2, the Lord leads Ezekiel to a valley full of dry bones. As he takes it all in, Ezekiel notices that the bones are very dry. They had been there awhile, y’all. Can anyone relate to being in a valley for longer than they care to admit?

What really got my attention, however, was verse 11. The bones in that valley represented the whole house of Israel. The stench in the valley was the death of hope. And that hope had been dead for quite some time.

rainy day

{Luke 24:13-21}

There were two men walking along the road. They had followed a man named Jesus. They had listened and learned. They had believed. They had hoped.

Yet, the man named Jesus had been handed over to the rulers. He had been mocked and beaten and crucified. It was three days later and their hope now held the stench of the grave.

Sometimes, y’all, hope smells a whole lot like death.

Perhaps, you had hope for your marriage. Yet, your spouse still decided to leave.

Or, maybe, you had hope for healing. In the end, however, you had a funeral.

It could be that you desperately hoped for reconciliation or, at the very least, closure. Instead, you got a cold shoulder and some fresh wounds.

Whatever it is that caused your hope to smell a little funky, there is good news. God is in the resurrection business.

You may think it is too late. In your heart, you are thinking that it has been too long. You think it sounds nice but, like Martha, you want to say, “Lord, it’s going to stink (John 11:39.)” My hope has been dead for so long that it is going to stink. That is okay, my friend. God can handle the stench of your decaying hope.

He is God over the grave.

I will open your graves and raise you from your graves, O my people. – Ezekiel 37:12 ESV

He can open the grave that holds your hope hostage. Not only that, he can raise it up and make it live again. It will be a tried and tested hope. It will be a hope that follows God and no longer fears the grave.

Your hope will have tasted death and lived to tell about it.

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