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  • Writer's pictureIain Johnston

Warrior Arise

I close my eyes.

I stand immersed in another man’s ancient dream, watching, soaking, contemplating, feeling the dream that he is having as if it were my own.


A darkened valley splits two mountains before me.

Death fills the valley.

Death from long ago.

The shadows are heavy. The darkness is thick.

A spiritual wasteland sprawls into the horizon.

I feel the sickening agony in the pit of my very being, of millions of souls tortured and ravaged, now decayed and lifeless.

So much pain. So much anguish. So much brokenness. So much withering. So much indescribable agony of heart and soul.

So much death of... life.


I sense no life in this spiritual wasteland. No sweet perfume of existence. No fragrance of flourishing souls. Not even a whiff.

Just the awful, gut wrenching, spirit churning odour of death... decay.


I want to turn my face away in horror, but I can’t.

I can’t turn away. My head and neck are rigidly fastened to this posture of staring down into this darkness.

I’m not meant to turn away. I must see this.


I stare apprehensively closer into the floor of the valley - and what I thought were the edges and cavities, the rise and falls of a rocky terrain floor come vividly into focus... and the horror in my soul and spirit inescapably invades every sense and every fibre of my being.


Bones.

Dried, lifeless bones.

They litter the valley floor from end to end.

Skulls. Rib cages. Spines.

Piled on top of each other.

Skeletal arms, legs, feet and hands.

A deathly reminder of men, women and children who had once walked the earth. Breathing the pure air, drinking the refreshing waters, eating the bountiful produce. Loving. Laughing.

Re-producing. Creating.

Man, woman and child born into the image of God, carrying the breath of life that He Himself had breathed into them.

Now, just dry... fragile... lifeless bones.


Countless.

Horrifying.

I dry reach.

As I double over, I see myself.

My feet are mere bones. My legs and hips have no skin or flesh or tendons on them.

I have no fleshly torso, no organs, just an empty vacuum below a hollowed out cage of ribs. My hands and arms creak and grind as I move them... the grind of bone on bone. No flesh or cartilage.

I touch my face and feel only the cold death of my skull.


And I am overwhelmed with my own condition.

My dry, dead, lifeless, brokenness.


The ancient prophet who’s dream I am entrapped in, stares over the valley.

But his eyes are determined. His spirit is strong and positioned for a purpose.

I see the strain and horror in his eyes that has gripped me so tightly, but there is a fire of expectation that burns brighter than the horror.


A glory hovers over him. And a Voice whispers, with such an extraordinary authority that to obey is the only impulse. The Voice whispers, penetrating his spirit and he responds and cries out over the valley of death and darkness.

“Dry bones, listen to the Word of the Lord. This is what the Sovereign Lord says...”


As the ancient prophet speaks, my heart and mind begin to whir and race.

Can these bones be brought to life again?

Can such death and darkness be transformed into life?

I wrestle with the impossibilities... but know full well that God, my God, is the author and giver of life!! And His Grace and compassion is longing to be extended to His creation.

As my mind whirs, I hear some of the ancient prophet’s words breaking in and out of my thoughts, as he shouts them out of the valley of bones.


“I am going to breathe into you and make you live again!!

I will put flesh and muscles on you and cover you in skin!!”


His words burst into my soul like a shaft of light.


And across the vast expanse of the valley of death and dry bones... I hear a noise. A deafening rattling.

Every bone begins to stir and shake in obedience to the prophet’s words - the words of the Sovereign Lord.

The rattling is accompanied by sudden cracking... as bones crash back together. Bone to bone.

Hips and pelvises collide. Hands and arms are re-united with a glorious force.

Ribs snap back into place.

Their dry, white texture becoming enriched and strong.


Tendons and sinews begin growing from the new marrow of the bones ... growing and forming tissue and muscle, organs begin to appear - kidneys, hearts, lungs, livers, brains.

Skin appears upon each of them, skin of all different shades and tones, wrapping around the newly formed flesh.


I watch in inexplicable awe as life is born over every bone. Not one remains without flesh and skin.


The ancient prophet responds once more to the Whisper.

His eyes in awe. An excitement captivating his soul.

An expectation of something glorious.

He cries out once more... his words once again pierce my soul like a bolt of lightning.

I can barely stand in its power.


“Come, O breath, from the four winds. Breathe into these dead bodies so they may live again.”


And a great wind rushed into the valley. From the south and the east and north and the west it rushed in, sweeping over every lifeless body, rushing into every nostril, every mouth.

And one by one... a sea of lungs are opened, hearts explode to life in their newly formed chests, eyes burst open ... and a million new born souls stand to their feet.

But not just as ordinary humans.

They have arisen... man, woman and child... as an army.

Soldiers.

Warriors.


And then... it all vanishes. And I am left alone.

Just my frail inadequate self.

Just me and my dry, weary, dead bones.


How did I come to be this way? Where did my skin and flesh go?

How did life, true Life, so die within me?

I pray. I worship. I read the divine words of Scripture.

I believe.

Yet how am I merely a dried skeleton?

I feel the same Whisper that spoke to the ancient prophet.

“Not all who call me Lord, will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”


My heart sinks like a heavy stone. I collapse under the weight that His Whisper has just given. I lay on my side... suddenly so aware that I am nothing more than dry bones.

I am alive. Granted.

But dry bones nonetheless.


Life has been an angry tormentor. An unkind companion. I have carried more than I can bare. Absorbed too much pain. Drained of life.

I don’t serve His Kingdom like I used to.

I serve my need to just survive.

Too overwhelmed most times to give.

It is no crime. Life has dealt a tough, raw hand.

But now I am reduced mercilessly to dry bones.


As I lay there, the words of the ancient prophet still burst in my chest.

And I hear the Whisper in my own soul.

“I will open your graves... and cause you to rise again.”


Please.

I beg you. Please.

Raise these dry bones to life. Breathe your life into this weary drained soul once more.


My bones tingle from within. Marrow begins filling their hollow recesses. Sinews and tendons begin growing from each bone, forming into muscle and tissue. The vital organs of life fill the cavities where they had once dissolved from. I feel the presence of a heart.

Lungs that can inhale and exhale.

Everything tightens and compresses as skin wraps and covers my new flesh.


And then, One so full of Love and Compassion, the author of Life Himself kneels over me... and breathes.

Breathes into my nostrils and mouth.

Life rushes in like a flood ... like a resurgent awakening that brings every fibre of my new flesh and bones to life.


He takes my hand and lifts me to my feet.

He doesn’t speak, but His eyes - like burning coals - penetrate into my heart and fill me with such Love, that I could scour every nook and cranny of the earth to find the words to describe, but never find an iteration worthy enough of the goodness of such Love.

And I feel something new. A fierce determination. An emboldening. A desire for the battle. An urgency to wage war against the enemy that reduces such beautiful creatures to dry bones.


The valley appears before me once more.

Once more, I see the bones litter the valley floor like discarded, worthless refuse.


He Whispers.

These are the bones of the broken-hearted. The discarded and rejected. The unloved.

The weary. The hopeless.

The traumatised. The lost.

The sinner. The addicted. Those consumed with hate.

The self serving. The self glorifying. The self worshiping.

The lovers of money, power and fame. The lovers of the flesh.

The wounded innocent. The abused. The tortured.

The slave.

“Warrior, do you believe I can bring these dry bones back to life?”


Look at me. How can I not?


“Then speak my words over the dry bones, Warrior.

Speak Life over them.

And I will restore them, resurrect them.

I will raise them up once more.

And they will be my Warriors.”


I stood with a determination over the valley before me.

His Whispers exploding in my chest.

I responded with the only imaginable impulse.

I opened my mouth...


...and began to Speak.


Awaken... O Warriors.

Your graves are being opened.


It is time to rise.




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