The Word: How a negative circumstance led to a positive faith
Comic strips have always been a favorite of mine. In one, Charlie Brown was complaining because his team always lost their games. Lucy attempted to console him, “Remember, Charlie Brown, you learn more from your defeats than from your victories.” Charlie Brown responded, “Then I must be the smartest person in the world.” It’s easy to see the negative in your situation.
Anyone can do that. It’s not hard to do that. But when God gets involved in a situation, then the positive becomes impossible to ignore. In 2 Kings, we are introduced to Naaman. Naaman definitely knew about the negative: He was going to die … soon. But then God got involved and brought hope to a seemingly hopeless situation. Are you facing a “hopeless” situation? There is hope for you.
Naaman had a lot of positives going on in his life. He had power, family and was liked. Everyone around him — his soldiers, his king, even a captured slave girl — wanted him healed. But that one negative — leprosy — overshadowed all the good. Nobody needed to tell Naaman that he was a leper. He knew it and was aware of how serious the problem was. It’s rare to have a problem which we don’t know about — alcohol problem, health problem, sin problem. Is there a “leprosy” that you face? There is hope for you!
God had already provided a solution for Naaman’s problem from an unlikely source. A captured slave girl pointed him to God’s servant. She also knew about negative circumstances. Those led her to a positive faith. Now she wants to do the same. Could God use your negative situation to help lead someone into a positive faith?
Instead, Naaman went to the king, the ultimate authority in the land. He was the one that everyone else looked to for the solution to problems. This problem was out of his hands. The king knew his own limitations. Going to any human to solve a death issue is futile. There was no political answer to his problem.
There was an answer, but it wasn’t to be found through the resources of any human.
Naaman was told to do something crazy. Bathe in the Jordan River. The Jordan was muddy; its waters could not clean him or anyone else. Centuries later, when John the Baptist dipped people under these waters, they still were not able to clean. The issue wasn’t the water. The issue was the faith that allowed a person to set aside their own means of salvation and accept the means that God presented to them. This faith caused Naaman’s skin to become as that of a child.
In many ways that is a description of what the Christian life is like. We might be in the midst of horrible circumstances in this world and yet have hope because we can see by faith the victory that is ours in Jesus.
Don’t just hope. Instead, have faith in Jesus!
John Moxley is pastor of First Baptist Church in Dillwyn. His email address is Jmoxley1@juno.com.