2Kings 5:1 begins with the story of an army chief, described as great, mighty, honourable and a victorious man in military exploits. These distinguishing descriptions of him however, ends with the statement, ‘but he was a leper’. His name was Naaman.
In verse 2, we have the description of another person. She was a little girl, a captive and a servant, whose job was to wait on her mistress. Perhaps she was too insignificant a person to even have her name being mentioned.
Fast-forwarding to verse 14, it records the healing of Naaman from leprosy. Reading the story in-between, it tells us that Naaman’s healing came about not through his might and valour, but that which was sparked off by this unknown little girl.
The little girl’s unenviable background: Snatched away from her safety-net, i.e. parents, siblings, relatives and friends, she ended up in a foreign land, striped of her liberty, in exchange for a life of slavery, to look into the welfare and interest of others. Plucked out from Israel and placed in the surroundings of paganism in Syria, she could have given up and leave it to ‘ill-fate’ and pass her time grudgingly or nonchalantly. Instead:
- She became a trusted servant. She spoke to her mistress about how Naaman can be healed in Israel. She must have been a trusted servant for her mistress to convey this to Naaman, who sought from the king to go to Israel. This little girl may not have the most-sought-after job in the world and yours may not be too. But she made the best of it, being faithful to her task and ended up being trusted – so too can we.
2. She was a girl of compassion. She went beyond the mere outward performance of a task, but looked into the emotional needs of her
mistress. She did not just simply took notice of her mistress’s husband to be plagued with leprosy. She took it to heart and acted upon it.
Perhaps she saw the pain in her mistress’s concern for her husband. Or being a trusted servant, her mistress could even have expressed
worry for her husband’s dilemma. Whichever, it shows her to be one with compassion. Besides outward conformity to a task, we too can take a deeper interest in our vocation and ‘go beyond duty’ to be a channel of blessing where we are.
3. She was a witness for God. What she testified was, ‘Would that my lord (Naaman) were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would
cure him of his leprosy.’ – vs. 3. This can either be understood as poor theology, or a style of speech, in assuming that she was referring to
the God of Israel, through the prophet. Upon being healed, even though Naaman wanted to present a gift to the prophet Elisha, his credit went to God – ‘. . . Behold, I know that there is no God in all the earth but in Israel. . . .’ (vs. 15). What she did, in her own ways,
pointed someone to faith and trust in God. You in your small corner, and I in mine, can also point people to God.
Conclusion: Yes, she is but an unknown little girl, placed in an unenviable position. But she made her life count. She did not feel despised. She made herself useful and in the course of doing so, brought glory to God.
Happy Youth Day!
Elder Richard Lai