This week I will continue with the story of Namaan. I want to tell you about a poor slave girl captured by Namaan, the commander-in-chief of the Syrian army thousands of years ago. The girl’s family was probably killed by Namaan’s army, as they took the spoils from the nation they had defeated. I’m pretty sure Namaan thought about taking this poor slave girl home to his wife to help around the house. It is also possible that Namaan had scattered her brothers and sisters as slaves as well.
The slave girl is an important character in the story (cf. 2 Kings 5). She was the source through which Namaan found direction for his healing. For the sake of dignity let’s call her “Lisa”.
Lisa told her slave mistress about a certain prophet in her country that could heal her husband Namaan of his leprosy disease. The Namaan’s family had little choice in the matter anyway but to honour the counsel of a “riffraff”, a supposed enemy.
It is not every enemy is an enemy. There are over one million reasons for Lisa to ignore the master’s sickness but she did otherwise. I’m certain she despised Namaan for what he did to her family. Yet she chose to love over hate. On the other side, there should be tangible reasons for Namaan to ignore the opinion of a slave girl – a supposed “enemy” – but he had no choice anyway. Recall, Lisa was brought back from the spoil of a land he had conquered. The lesson here is that sometimes we might need to listen to what an “enemy” says to find life. The cogency of their words might just surprise you.
Looking down can be looking at your enemy’s camp to find a blessing. I know that “looking down” is often contrary to what we are encouraged to do. But really down is the way we must go if we are to find solutions to our problems. Down is the route we must take if we are going to feel the touch of God. Namaan finds a direction from a poor slave girl. Namaan’s way up was through a conquered nation. He conquered Israel yet finds help in what he had destroyed. For some of us, our answers are trapped within the layers of those things we despise. Perhaps those folks we hate hanging out with. God is saying, look down and get a life!
There is power in nonsense. There is always that down road…you must pass through to get what you want. Who would have ever imagined that the direction for Namaan’s healing would come from Lisa, the slave girl. There is always that one person in our life often they dress in rags, whom God uses to remind us that anything is possible. We need to find these people to access the great provisions of grace God has released for our sake. And we are called to be agents of grace even in life’s most difficult situations.
We need people in our lives that will look past our arrogance and nonsenseness to see our hurt. Lisa had every reason not to help her master. He killed her family. But even in her animosity for Namaan’s action, she looked beyond his actions and saw his hurt. She looked pass the arrogance of her oppressor to help him find a solution to his problem. Despite Namaan’s intimidating position, she ignored his glass-walls of power and saw his pain. She called it by name. She knew of a pain reliever and told Namaan where to find help.
We need humble people in our lives that will look past us and say things as it is. We need people who will look past what we are/have – the job titles, positions, cars, bank accounts and houses – to see our sins, wretchedness, and loneliness. We need people in our lives that will touch us at our point of need. We need people who will call our problems by name like they see them. We need people who will see our blind spots and tell us how ignorant we’ve been. We need people in our lives who will love us enough not to let us make stupid mistakes.
What most strikes me in Namaan’s story was his humility in spite of his position. He condescended so low to take counsel from Lisa, a slave girl. Who are the “Lisas” in our own life? Remember they dress in rags and are usually nobody. In our workplace, church, or organization, how often do we “look down” to find directions from the “Lisas” of our own lives?
Stay humble to find answers.