Talking Bones

As I grow older, my bones grow noisier. About 25 years ago, I shattered my right knee while playing with Peter at the playground in Bandon. A surgeon rebuilt my knee with bone taken from my hip. The knee works but doesn’t have much cartilage. It complains loudly after long hikes or being twisted the wrong direction.

Bone tired. As I have aged, the other bones have become a chorus accompanying my knee. Recently I noticed how often the Psalmists mention bones. In the Psalm 6:2 David asks God to heal him because his bones are “dismayed”. David is talking about something deeper than the creaking bones of the elderly. In verse six he says, “I am weary with my sighing. Every night I make my bed swim, I dissolve my couch with my tears.” Grief can make us bone-tired as we dog paddle in our tears.  In Psalm 22 David laments that he is “poured out like water and all my bones are out of joint.”  Like David, our bones ask, “O Lord—how long?” Our bones pray.

Bone praise. Yet as deep, even deeper, there is a joy and hope in my bones. In Psalm 35:9-10 David’s bones speak again:

All my bones will say, “Lord who is like Thee, Who delivers the afflicted from him who is too strong for him, and the afflicted and the needy from him who robs from him?

Yes, despite all the triumphant exhortations to be joyful over-comers Christians exchange, we still face circumstances and enemies that are too strong—who steal our joy and would like to steal our faith. But our bones can rejoice in God who delivers us and refreshes our bones.

Bag of bones. As we age or face sickness, we can easily feel like little more than a bag of bones. Sometimes those dying of cancer become terribly thin and their skin almost translucent, like parchment showing every vein, outlining every bone. Even so, our bones can, with every snap, crackle, and pop, sing and our hope of redemption, our hope of resurrection. Our lungs may wheeze and whine like bagpipes playing “Amazing Grace” but we limp toward victory.

In all our weakness, and in all our fading, the Spirit will grow stronger in us. And as we age, we get closer to the day when our bones will rattle like the bones of Israel in Ezekiel 37, and we will rise to see Jesus, face to face. Then every bone will sing, every knee will bend.

About Mark

I live in Myrtle Point, Oregon with my wife Teckla and am the father of four boys. Currently I teach writing and literature at Southwest Oregon Community College. I am a graduate of Myrtle Point High School, Northwest Nazarene College, and have a Masters in English from Washington State University.
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