Healing Naaman and Me – Part 2
When something bad happens to us, it will make us better or it will make us bitter.
And the choice is ours.
So we’re told.
We’re also told that when life hands us lemons we shouldn’t settle for drinking their sour liquid that turns our mouth inside out. Instead we should use it to make delicious, thirst-quenching lemonade.
If only life was that simple, right?
Alabama is my home state. It’s where I was born, raised, married, built a home, had a baby, raised my daughter. My roots are there. So is my extended family.
On April 27, 2011, several towns, including a few in which members of my close family lived, were ravaged by devastating tornadoes. Left in their wake was unbelievable death and destruction.
Thankfully my family was safe. But I still wept as I watched the coverage on television in the safety of my Colorado apartment. My heart broke. I could not imagine what people felt as they crawled out of the rubble that was once their family home. Or what the survivors felt when they discovered their spouse didn’t make it. Or when people had loved ones literally snatched out of their arms, their lifeless bodies later discovered hundreds of yards away. I cannot imagine the pain and loss felt when the father of 13 children uses his body as a mortal shield to protect one of them, saving their precious life by sacrificing his own.
I can’t say for sure that I would make the choice to allow that experience to make me better.
I hope I would. I pray I would. That’s what I aspire to do.
But I don’t know.
My goal is to be like the young Israeli girl in Naaman’s household. But I’m not sure I’m that mature.
Let’s look at her part in this story.
2 Now bands of raiders from Aram had gone out and had taken captive a young girl from Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. 3 She said to her mistress, “If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.” – 2 Kings 5:2-3
Here’s a child who’s been torn from her home and family and taken captive by her enemy. She is now a slave to that enemy. She has to serve them every day.
We have a modern name for it. We call it human trafficking. We preach against it. We raise money to protect the vulnerable. We work with those who are rescued to help them get their lives back to some kind of normalcy.
And that takes time. I’m sure they have a lot of issues to deal with. Issues like unimaginable fear. An inability to trust. Even shame, guilt, and feelings of worthlessness.
And I’m sure they have questions. Probably one main question. Why? Why did this happen to me? If God loves me and cares about me why did He allow it? At least, I think that’s what I would be asking.
This young Israeli girl probably dealt with those same issues and those same questions. And yet somehow she apparently came up with a satisfying answer.
I say that because she shows here that she still believes in God’s goodness. She still believes in His power and desire to heal. And she still believes in His concern … and hers … for people who don’t even know Him.
Even her enemies.
I’m not sure I would respond as well as she did. I like to think I would, but I’ve done much worse in much less difficult circumstances.
This young girl shows us that we don’t have to remain angry at God or our perpetrator when bad things happen to us. She also shows us that God is able to use us while we’re still healing to bring healing and freedom to others.
He’s able to use us IF we allow Him to. IF we don’t wallow in our self-pity. IF we trust Him to use our circumstances for good.
When bad things happen to us, we don’t have to lose our faith in God’s goodness.
Our faith won’t take away our pain. It doesn’t replace our losses. It can’t make everything okay. But when bad things happen to us, we have an opportunity to see life from a different perspective. IF we choose to.
If we allow ourselves to feel the pain and go through the process of healing, we can start to see our circumstances from an eternal perspective instead of a temporary one. A heavenly perspective instead of an earthly one.
God’s perspective instead of our own.
And from His perspective, things look a lot different than we see them.
Have you ever seen a complete rainbow? I don’t mean one that stretches from one spot on the horizon upward in an arc and down to another spot on the horizon. Those are gorgeous. But have you ever seen an entire rainbow?
A few years ago I was flying back to Denver after visiting with my family in Alabama. We had to take the long way home because of a huge storm front that was passing over the Rockies. We took off from Birmingham and went due west and later we turned right and went due north. By the time we hit Colorado the worst of the front had passed, but we still had a rough flight through the remainder of the storm. And Denver was still wet as we flew into the area.
I love to sit by the window because I love flying. I love taking off and landing (usually) and I love looking down on the earth and trying to figure out what state I’m flying over. This day I was extremely thankful I was sitting by the window because I got to see something I had never seen before. I got to see a complete rainbow.
And I learned something new. I learned that rainbows are not half circles. Rainbows are complete circles. From our perspective on the ground, the horizon prevents us from seeing the rest of the rainbow. I didn’t know that until this particular plane ride. And I still wouldn’t have known it if I hadn’t flown through the storm and looked out my window.
That’s true in life, too. If I don’t run away from the storms that come my way . . . and they are going to come my way . . . and if I am willing to keep my eyes open and look at things from a different perspective . . . a higher perspective than my own . . . I will learn things. I will learn to see things differently. Even things I’ve thought I’ve been right about for decades. Like the shape of rainbows.
Storms are not fun. They’re not fun to fly through on a plane and they’re not fun to walk through in our lives. But storms are a part of life here on planet earth. And God wants to use them to give us a new perspective. His perspective. He wants to use them to change us and to make us attractive to people who will one day go through similar storms.
He wants us to share our new perspective with others when they are going through situations similar to ones we’ve been through. He wants to use us to encourage them. To explain to them the process we went through. How we were able to heal. Who we turned to in our pain. Who we credit for our healing.
Just like this young Israeli girl. God wants to use us to point people to Him. To the healing He offers. Even people who don’t know Him.
Especially people who don’t know Him.
But in order to do this, we have to have gone through storms ourselves and we have to have healed from them enough to have gained a new perspective.
Thankfully this Israeli girl had.
And in some areas, I have too.
And because I have, I now know the real shape of rainbows.
© Rhonda Fleming, 2013