top of page

The Little Girl Who Sighed Aloud

A deep sigh – a release of a pent-up desire – an emotional juggernaut. Loud enough for her mistress to hear the ”if only”. And, thankfully, faith was birthed.


How much would one normally rely on the words of a servant girl – captured in a skirmish and brought to an unfamiliar country, serving at the beck and call of the mistress? In this instance, surprisingly, lots.

This lady of the house must have grasped at the straw and passed the word on to her husband, Naaman, and he was no ordinary man. His resume read: “an important official in the sight of his master and was highly esteemed because the Lord has brought victory to Syria through him. He was an outstanding man but he was a leper.” (2 Kings 5:1, Berkeley Version) God used him, but he was not fully aware. Yet.


And in turn, Naaman brought the words of this lowly servant girl to his master, the king of Syria. The message? “If only my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria. He would drive out his leprosy.” Not hearsay but know-for-sure. Her compassion for her mistress’ husband was sufficiently compensated.


The ball was at Naaman’s feet. Would he score from the penalty spot? He took a cue from the girl’s simple yet mighty faith in God. Desperation does things like this to some people. A spark of hope launched an official delegation. In anticipation of the power of healing, they brought with them 20,000 dollars in silver; 60,000 dollars in gold; and 10 suits of clothes – no small potatoes. Oh yes, presumably preceded by a Hallmark-like greeting card with two words on the cover – “Heal him”.


The king of Israel knew it was beyond him; so he tore his clothes. The rending of one’s clothes had symbolic significance, since clothes indicated one’s importance or status. The poor king interpreted Naaman’s mission as an excuse for war and he was on a losing streak. But why didn't he think of sending Naaman to the prophet in the first place? He was clearly out of his depth.


Be grateful. See God at work in both the large and little things in life. Low can be high; small can be big; and watch out for greed which can suffocate true gratitude and cause the end to be worse than the beginning.

Elisha’s reproof struck home: “Why have you torn your garments?” No beating around the bush. Naaman, his horses, chariots and all were dispatched post haste to Elisha’s door. But the prophet was not at the door nor the Welcome mat. Instead, what awaited was just a straightforward set of instructions to wash seven times in the river Jordan. It didn’t dawn on Naaman that it was the act of obedience and not the intrinsic value of the water in the river. Come to think of it, he surmised, back in Damascus they had “better” rivers in Abana and Pharpar. But that would not do.


Naaman felt insulted by Elisha’s directions and threw a hissy fit. Fortunately, Naaman’s servants used artful logic to help him change his mind and comply with “Wash and be clean” (verse 13). And lo and behold – his skin was like a little child’s and clean.


The main thing remains: Truly – “There is a prophet in Israel” (verse 8) and “There is no God in all the earth except in Israel” (verse 15). In the former, the king of Israel had to learn that and in the latter, Naaman made a personal declaration to confirm his personal discovery and what changed his life forever. He even applied for a waiver – that God would forgive him when he accompanied his master the king of Syria to worship at the house of Rimmon. Shalom was what he got.


All’s well that ends well? Unfortunately not.

As Chuck Swindoll noted: “Naaman returned to thank Elisha and Gehazi. He was so overwhelmed, he offered a sizable gift of gratitude. Elisha refused any tangible thank you (5:15–19). But that's not the end of the account. Naaman offered Gehazi a gift as well. Deep within the heart of Elisha's servant crouched a silent beast of the soul. It is perhaps the most subtle peril every servant of God must endure: hidden greed.” And the leprosy of Naaman passed on to Gehazi.


Be grateful. See God at work in both the large and little things in life. Low can be high; small can be big; and watch out for greed which can suffocate true gratitude and cause the end to be worse than the beginning.


Practise thankfulness: “Praise the LORD, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all his benefits — who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” (Ps 103:1-5 NIV)


One word covers it all! “All”. Full coverage.


Dr Andrew Goh is the editor of Impact magazine.

 

VOL. 47 NO. 4 of IMPACT Magazine


SURELY I DESERVE A LITTLE MORE THAN THIS? ... But do we? By Tan Soo Inn


FIVE OVERLOOKED THINGS TO BE THANKFUL FOR. By Ernie Song


ESTHER AND THE THEOLOGY OF THANKSGIVING. By John Carpenter


RAISING A GRATEFUL ... Combat entitlement with gratitude. By Judith Xavier


SURPRISED BY GRATITUDE, AMAZED BY GRACE. By Mary Yeo-Carpenter


HOW DOES YOUR GARDEN GROW? By Manik Corea


GRATITUDE AS A SUSTAINABILITY

~ The Impact Panel responds ~


GENIUS AND GRACE. By Ajith Fernando


GOD OPENED DOORS. Interview with Mr S Dhanabalan

Recent Posts

See All

Commentaires


bottom of page