He’s successful. He’s famous. He’s highly regarded. And not just in the eyes of his family and friends, not just by himself, but by someone whose opinion really matters: his boss.
This man is a decorated army commander who has victory after victory in the record book. His boss is none other than the king himself.
What this man does not know (but we do if we’ve read 2 Kings 5) is that those victories and the medals on his chest and the estimation in which he is held are all gifts “because through him the Lord had given victory to Aram” (v. 1). In that glimpse behind the scenes is a message for us all: God is in control.
Read the rest of 2 Kings 5. You’ll meet a young girl who had been snatched from her Israelite family by a band of raiders from Aram. Surely she and her family did not see God’s hand in those circumstances. Yet she is the one who tells her mistress about the prophet who can put them in touch with the God who is in control—not only of conflict but of health.
Think about it. How often do we consider our achievements to be personal accomplishments when, in reality, they are gifts? How often do we consider illness to be a burden—maybe even a curse—when it could be a doorway for God?
How often do we still think of tragedy and disaster as evidence of the absence of God, when it just might be the occasion for God to come closer?
We live in a world a lot like Naaman’s. Power is still coveted and treasured. Pain and suffering, disruption and loss still tend to obscure the evidence of God’s presence.
Like that unnamed young girl whose life was catastrophically interrupted and disassembled, we live in a chaotic world where things are often not what they seem to be.
We are not prophets, at least not in the same sense as Elisha. We don’t see precisely what the hands of God are doing most of the time. We just know the hands are there. Giving. Holding us up. Controlling. Ordering. Restoring. Comforting. Reassuring.
That is a message this world needs to hear as much as Aram did. Your neighbor needs to hear it as much as that young girl’s mistress did. The high and mighty need to hear it as much as the king and his general did. Our nation needs to hear it as much as Israel did.
It is a message you and I know and trust—a message we can communicate as effectively as that young girl who knew in whom she believed and shared that knowledge with people who needed the good news. She did so without special training or advance notice—equipped by faith and inspired by the Spirit.
There’s a lot for us to learn in the opening verses of 2 Kings 5. Each of us reading those words knows someone in great need of hearing that our God reigns.
On the other side of this story, we hear Naaman declare, “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except your God!”
That was the goal all along. The God whose love we know best and most fully in Christ, his Son, wants as many as possible to know and love and follow him. He uses all things and all believers—little girls, prophets, and the likes of us—to get that word out.
That is what Christian Reformed Home Missions is all about. And that is also what we all are all about. Let’s put our hands in the good hands of God, by faith, and urge everyone we meet to do the same.