Some days I feel powerful, beautiful, intelligent, and significant. Those days are rare. Usually, I feel…well, let’s say… something less than that. Is it any surprise then, that at times I identify with a minor character in a story?
For instance, there was the young servant girl who served Naaman’s wife. We don’t even know her name. But she had an extraordinary, but hidden power. “What’s that?” you probably want to know. Read on…
All we know about the servant girl is recorded in just three verses, including two sentences that she spoke to her mistress – “If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria. He would cure him of his leprosy.” Such a brief communication! Only 19 words (in the NIV translation). But they reveal so much about that servant girl.
“My master.” That’s how she addressed Naaman, the head of the household that she served. She had been kidnapped as a young girl, and forcibly taken to a foreign country to work as a servant to strangers. She had no choice in the matter. She had been forced to serve.
“If only.” Her words showed a wistful desire for Naaman’s healing. In spite of the circumstances, she had learned to love those around her. She really cared. She knew how devastating a diagnosis of leprosy was to a person and his family. With the diagnosis of leprosy, Naaman was a social outcast. People feared leprosy. It was contagious. Anyone with leprosy needed to stay away from people. Naaman, as commander of the King’s army, would probably be unable to continue his job in the same way (if at all). He would be at risk for losing all that he had; his friends, his status, his possessions, even his life. The disease was progressive. There was no cure.
Except…. “The prophet… would cure him of his leprosy.” The servant girl’s words conveyed the depth of faith that she possessed. It was a childlike faith; a full confidence in the goodness and power of the God of the prophet. There was no hint of doubt. Her trust in God was simple, complete, and without guile.
(This challenges me: If placed in the same situation, would I have cared so much about those who forced me into service? Would I have had such a pure and trusting faith? Umm…, well, probably not. Not without God’s help.)
“He would cure him….” It was a simple statement, but spoken with profound courage. Naaman could get angry about relatively little things. (This was evidenced later in the story. You can read it at II Kings 2 by following the link below.) Plus, Naaman was close to the king. They were not likely to be pleased with someone who would give information that resulted in a costly journey to a foreign country, but which yielded no results. What would have happened to the young girl if Naaman had made the journey, and then returned home, completely disappointed? But, in spite of the risk, she spoke the words with boldness and confidence.
(Would I have been as brave as the servant girl to speak those words? Umm…, well, prob…. Aah, who are we kidding? No. No, I would not have been that brave. That would take…. God.)
With her boldly spoken words as incentive, Naaman made the trip to see the prophet. And in the course of the story, Naaman received his healing. More importantly, he received the profound knowledge that the God of healing was the only God in all the world.
Naaman was healed, but the credit for starting the events that led to that healing belonged to that brave servant girl. Without her love and boldness, there would have been no healing for Naaman. Her days were ordinary; her workload mundane. But with the love and courage of those spoken words, lives were changed.
The servant girl possessed an extraordinary type of power. It was the type of power that comes from love and a relationship with an extraordinary God: a God who transforms events by His favor, love, and power. It’s the type of power that flows from the heart of God in response to an individual’s extraordinary expression of love and unconditional surrender to His purposes. To look at her, the girl did not look powerful. But God gave her the ability to influence important people and to make a marvelous impact on the world.
Now, years later, we can only speculate about the extent of that impact of that healing. We know that Naaman was a great man in the sight of the king; which probably meant that the king, and many high government officials of the country, heard about the healing and about the God who had performed it. We can only guess at how that information changed those individuals’ lives; and at how many peopled in the country were also impacted as a result. What we do know is that now, more than 2000 years later, we continue to remember the words of that servant girl.
(I wonder: Did she feel powerful, beautiful, intelligent, and significant? Did she realize how much God did through her? Could it be that through our insignificant and ordinary days, there are ways that God would like to work His extraordinary power to reveal Himself and His love? Are we willing to let Him? Are we willing to reach out to Him?)