If you are a true believer in Jesus Christ, you KNOW that you have been saved for a purpose here on earth before spending eternity with God: to be part of the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20), reaching out to the lost and introducing them to the Good News of salvation through the one and only Messiah. Every Christian has a mission on God’s mission field which is the broken and sin-riddled world we live in. We are called “laborers in the harvest.” Those who acknowledge that have all said this prayer: “Use me, Lord; I want to serve You! Let my life be useful for your kingdom! Save souls through me…”
What if God’s answer to that heartfelt petition started in the middle of the night with horrible screams of suffering, cries of despair, sounds of fierce battle, splashes of blood on the walls, fire and smoke almost suffocating you and cruel, rude hands ripping you out of bed, away from loved ones, everything you are familiar with and taking you captive to a foreign idol-worshiping land? Pure, uncontrollable terror would inundate every cell of your body.
Then you are sold on the market like a vulgar piece of meat, like the animals your family, your neighbors owned… before the destructive raid. Completely powerless and vulnerable, somewhere between infancy and adolescence, you realize with grief all your dreams, ambitions and plans have been crushed by your despicable kidnapers. You are bought for a powerful man and end up at his wife’s service. That is your fate, your new destiny: being a maid, a lowly servant, a slave whose life is worth nothing.
Oh God, why? Why did you allow this? Why am I in such a terrible predicament? Will it end? Will I ever see the Promised Land again? And my people, my family? We can all imagine how a young girl from the book of 2Kings chapter 5 must have felt: the anguish and desperation, the tears and rage, the tons of questions and ever-present doubt trying to erode her faith. The Bible doesn’t describe her inner struggles, nor does it tell us how long it took before she rose up over her dreadful circumstances and decided to trust the Lord her God no matter what. But she did!
She chose to believe Him and in Him, despite all that happened and the uncertainty of her future! She chose faith over bitterness, anger and denying God; she fought off depression, panic and apathy; she rejected the devil’s mockery and lies. She chose God! She even considered other people’s needs. In short, she accepted, embraced, her new condition. She understood that if we don’t make peace with what life gives us, with what God allows, we can’t be free. I dare say that in her captivity she was experiencing more liberty than many of us who often wrestle with this unsettling Bible statement:
And we know that ALL things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
This young girl lived and served in a way that won her mistress’ appreciation and trust, and a door was opened for her to speak freely. She still believed God worked miracles and could change impossible situation, that He could heal the worst disease of her time: leprosy! She didn’t focus on her own life, licking her wounds, and simply attempting to survive in a hostile environment. No, she chose to care for her unbelieving masters, her captors; she wanted them to enjoy God’s goodness too. Honestly, her unselfish heart was a slap in my face. Could I have reacted as she did? How do I handle what comes my way? Too often I easily harbor negative feelings toward those who hurt or offend me. How was she able to not only cling to God in the face of such adversity, but also love her enemy to the point of being the instrument for His blessing?
And the Syrians had gone out on raids, and had brought back captive a young girl from the land of Israel. She waited on Naaman’s wife. Then she said to her mistress, “If only my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria! For he would heal him of his leprosy.” And Naaman went in and told his master, saying, “Thus and thus said the girl who is from the land of Israel.
~2 Kings 5:2-4
We don’t know her name and she’s mentioned only in these three verses. But what an example! How challenging are her character and faith! Her testimony was strong and convincing enough for her mistress to report it to her husband and for that mighty man, the commander of the army, to share it with the king himself! Oh, the hidden power of an ordinary, unconsidered, slave girl! It stemmed from her an unwavering and tested faith in the Almighty God’s sovereignty and lovingkindness!
She was basically saying, “Listen, I know THE truth that sets us free! All your victories, possessions, high status and worldly power is peanuts compared to this. You need God! He can be found only in one place. If you want healing and the end of your inner turmoil, you have to humble yourself and turn to Him. He is THE solution. And there’s a specific way to get to Him: His Word; people who believe in Him like me serve as compass. I may not understand why He chose to use me through suffering and hardship. But don’t be fooled by the frailty of this vessel: herein lies the eternal treasure. Actually, it is WHEN I am broken that YOU are able to see His glory, beauty and power radiate through the pieces of my life, in order to touch and transform yours…” That’s the gospel of Jesus Christ; that is our message and hope for our generation!
Are you stirred by that young girl’s amazing story? Aren’t there people around you who need God? Then would you allow yourself to pray with me the prayer written at the start of this post, adding a note of deeper surrender? Think it through, because God will take you at your word. If you can’t do it right now, ask Him to work in you and make you willing soon; because that is the kind of sold out risk-taking selfless followers of Christ that our dying and captive world is in need of – like Naaman was.
“Use me, Lord; I want to serve You! Let my life be useful for your kingdom! Save souls through me… Whether through mountaintop experiences or in the valley of the shadow of death… Whether in times of blessing and joy or times of suffering, weakness and apparent insignificance, You can use me. Amen!”
For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake. For it is God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted but not forsaken; struck down but not destroyed – always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.
~2 Cor. 4:5-10