14 November 2011

Multitude Monday - 1000 Gifts ~ my mental wanderings this weekend...

Child trafficking… in the Bible.  A horrifying, terrifying, abominable practice then and now, “wrecking” lives and families. Yet in 2 Kings 5, we see how God used it, and how a little one gently let Him use her and her life…
  • to change Naaman’s life, probably the lives of Naaman’s servants who were with him, possibly the lives of his family members, and who knows how many others who marveled at his story...
  • to testify of His glory and power to “pagans” and those who knew better…
  • to confront Jehoram with his "forgetfulness..."
  • to reveal Gehazi’s double minded-ness…
  • to touch, challenge and change, eternally, who knows how many who have studied and meditated on this story.
I want to know more, though, about the little servant girl. She has no name… only an unselfish wish. And that wish sprang from one who had every human reason to only, ever think about herself first. She’d obviously been forgotten, overlooked or considered unimportant at least oncee, and more probably many times, before. The word used to describe her, “little,” in the original Hebrew means
least, lesser, little one, smallest, one, quantity, thing, younger,” (from Strong's)
Most commentaries I've read, Sunday school lessons I've attended or sermons I've heard preached tend to try and gloss over this little girl’s reality. People tack on the ideas that Naaman (same guy who flies into a rage a few verses later when things don't go as he expected) and his mistress were possibly, probably, good masters… that she was right where God wanted her to be… that she’d grown to love and truly desired to serve those who were in authority over her… that she’d learned to be content and actually preferred her life with her kind masters… We prefer to try and “infer” from the context lots of things to make this story… her story... more palatable.
But we don’t really know any of that. We don’t really know much of anything about this little girl:
  • she served Naaman in serving Naaman’s wife,
  • she had been captured in a raid,  forcibly driven or hauled off to a foreign land, and then given or sold as a piece of property - I can't imagine that the experience was a pleasant one,
  • she was responsible to “stand before” Naaman’s wife... and wait... and then do... whatever Naaman’s wife might require of her,
  • she obviously remembered her life before,
  • she possibly came from a family of faith because she spoke favorably of the prophet Elisha even though her earthly king would not have been a fan of the man,
  • despite her circumstances, she wished to see her master’s health restored.
Naaman, like the little girl, clearly an observable and very great need. He, however, also had the power and influence to do something about his area of want. Unmistakeably unhappy with his present situation, he also had to be aware of and okay with her circumstances. Based on the way he spoke about her, those outside of his immediate family circle were familiar with the fact that a captured Israeli servant girl existed in his household. I see no hint or indication that he tried return her, or search out her family, when he went to search out Elisha. He could have, but he was clearly thinking specifically of his own needs and expectations. She "stands before" us as having a very different spirit than the people she served.
Which, spiritually, is a better place to be?

Furthermore, it is curious, this little girl’s response to her master. Her disposition was so totally and completely opposed to that of her former king, Jehoram. She thought of others first, shared truth, and openly, unreservedly, served.

The king of Israel, on the other hand, saw only doom and gloom. He sought to avoid service - even the simple sharing of information - and the responsibility it implied; he oozed pride and power – thinking immediately that Naaman had come to him for healing, and not seeing that Naaman was seeking and had come for help to find God in finding the one of whom his slave girl had spoken; King Jehoram saw only hidden motives and manipulation in Naaman’s quest for help, considering the possible implications and probable outcomes for himself. Apparently the possibilities that immediately came to mind were not ones he desired. He, who seemed to have everything, surrounded by people who lived to serve him and comply with his every wish, cannot compare with a petite damsel who knew at least some measure of desperation, desolation and deprivation, who’d been torn from her family and trafficked... and who now lived because she was expected to listen for, hear, and then immediately seek to fulfill, the every wish of her master. A total contrast.
Again, which, spiritually, is a better place to be?
While I’m thankful for the fact that my God takes human cruelty and sinfulness, turning it for His good and His glory, I don’t like it. A large part of me resists the very real reality that people are born to lands where they are immediately sentenced to lives of poverty, hunger and want – of every sort. I detest the truth that slavery exists, human trafficking thrives, people profit from prostitution, corruption cankers and contaminates... I, in a sense, support these things by my very reluctance entertain the idea that I might need to change, accept responsibility and consider alternatives... asking how I can do my part to try and halt some of the horrors that abound in this fallen world.
Truthfully? I am convicted by the fact that when I unpeel the layers and look deep within, I often see more of King Jehoram or Naaman in my thoughts, actions and responses to the uncomfortable realities, tragedies, and evil circumstances abounding today…
~ well ~ 
... at least more than I see, feel or follow through with a response
similar to the one evidenced by a tiny, trafficked, thoughtful, thankful... Israeli maid.

Once again, I ask myself:
"Which, spiritually, is the better place to be?"

this week's gratitude list:
(#'s 1650 - 1676)

temperatures ranging wide

auctioned workers

ice cream sundays

clean houses

on line chats

challenging editorials on hard topics

time to talk

thinking, praying and talking about the future

a mischevious 16 year old boy who's sense of humor is subtle but terribly funny

silly girl who listens to the same songs over and over and over and over and over...

little hands and little feet poking and pulling on me at night

bad cases of bed head that lead to laughter

brushing long blonde hair... lots of it!

upcoming field day at the stade

kids excited to compete

listening to a sweet little girl worship her relatively recently discovered Jesus through song at church

silly songs with "Ekah" in the Land Cruiser on the way home

thinking forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas

a favorite blog site gearing up for posts once again

letters from churches and pastors that encourage

a humbling example of gentleness, patience and deep faith when prayed for relief is not rapidly realized

dusting away mental cobwebs to help kids with physics problems

her amazement and need to share that physical touch is her love languge

homemade salsa cut and prepared by 6 and 8 year old hands... all by themselves... they even tried to clean up their mess and the salsa was completely scarfed... oh so quickly

the fact that those two wanted to help fix dinner on a Sunday afternoon

cast iron skillets to cook flat bread

realizing we are on the last candle before we actually need another new one

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for these thoughts....God's economy doesn't always add up in our's does it? Enjoyed reading your gratitude journey list.


Stop in for a chat! I love to hear what you have to say ~


Related Posts with Thumbnails