As I’m getting ready to leave for holidays, I have a particular bible story on my mind. It’s a story that has come to mean a lot to me this year; I find it both amusing and convicting. I see myself in the middle of it, and it always reminds me to leave people and situations in God’s hands.
It’s Namaan’s story, found in 2 Kings 5.
Namaan is a powerful Syrian army commander. Though his nation is at war with Israel, God gives him victory. Namaan has great influence and success, but is afflicted with leprosy. His Israelite servant girl tells him that there is a prophet in Samaria who can heal him and he listens to her. After obtaining the blessing of his own king, he travels to enemy territory to seek medical help.
The part that I want to share today centers around what happens when Namaan arrives in Israel:
He went “taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold, and ten changes of clothing. And he brought a letter to the king of Israel which read, “When this letter reaches you, know that I have sent to you Namaan my servant, that you may cure him of his leprosy.” And when the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and said, “Am I God to kill and to make alive, that this man sends word to me to cure a man of his leprosy? Only consider, and see how he is making a quarrel with me.” (2 Kings 5:5-7)
Can you picture this scene, and see yourself in it? Someone comes to you and shares a big struggle that they are experiencing, and you panic :). You feel pressure to come up with wise advice and quick solutions but you know that you can’t make it all better; you don’t have the power or resources or ability to solve the issue. Like the King of Israel, do you get quickly overwhelmed? If so, read on…
But when Elisha the man of God heard that the King of Israel had torn his clothes, he sent to the king, saying, “Why have you torn your clothes? Let him come now to me, that he may know that there is a prophet in Israel.” (2 Kings 5:8)
Do you hear the quiet certainty in Elisha’s voice? Why have you torn your clothes, Oh King? Don’t you know that God can do what you cannot?
Namaan expects Elisha to do something impressive and magical: “Behold, I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call upon the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure the leper” (2 Kings 5: 11) but Elisha doesn’t. He simply sends word via a messenger that Namaan should obey the instructions given him by God. And when he finally does, Namaan knows that it is God who healed Him, not Elisha.
“[H]e returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and he came and stood before him. And he said, “Behold, I know that there is no God in all the earth but in Israel … From now [I] will not offer burnt offering or sacrifice to any god but the Lord.” (2 Kings 5:15-17)
This story reminds me that it is only God who can heal, save, and meet the needs of people around us. We don’t have to stress out like the Israelite king. Instead, we can follow Elisha’s example. As we simply and calmly bring people’s needs to God, those who come to us for help will know that we trust in God’s power and that we are handing them over to His care and His providence in peace.
Blessings on you,
Pastor of Women