The past few days in the One-Year have included a marathon of miracles from Elisha. One of the ones I have the most familiarity with came from today, in 2 Kings 5. It is the story of Namaan, the Syrian captain, and his miraculous healing in the Jordan River. Namaan, however, did not arrive there of his own searching of problem solving. The source that he got his information from Elisha from is most interesting, because of how small and unlikely said source is. Namaan’s wife has a a servant girl from Israel. She was taken from her home and her family, and became a servant in the land of Syria, during one of the many raids Syria sends out against Israel.
Given how the narrative does not supply much detail about her life as a servant, she may have been treated very well, but still — servitude, probably with no way out. This circumstance she was in could have developed a sort of “that’s what you get” attitude toward Namaan. Or, she could have said nothing, and kept dutifully serving a very wealthy and very important woman. But instead, she spoke up for his benefit, saving his life. She took advantage of her knowledge of Elisha and the God of Israel and leans on it for her master’s behalf.
She saw Namaan’s condition, and probably understood just how horrific leprosy eventually became. Whatever affection she had developed for Namaan could have been exercised as an empty voice of vague hospice encouragement — after all, what could she do? Leprosy was incurable and would eventually turn Namaan into the closest approximation of the walking dead. But she knew what Someone else could do! She knew about a prophet and the God that does miracles through him. She knew that if Namaan just went to do whatever Elisha asked of him, a miracle was certain.
“If only my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria! Then he would cure him of his leprosy.”
There isn’t a dramatic speech, just a heartfelt expression of faith. Namaan doesn’t even hear this directly from her, but from another member the king’s court. Just one voice, and the story of Namaan changes from hospice to hope.
The rest of the story is well known:
Namaan goes with a letter and gifts from his king (to give to the king of Israel, because the Syrians are too pagan to understand how any of this works), but Elisha refuses the wealth (and even a direct meeting with Namaan!) and sends Namaan to the Jordan to be cleansed. Namaan is peeved but he goes at the behest of ANOTHER small voice of a servant, speaking for Namaan’s behalf.Not only is his leprosy cured, his skin is described as being as healthy and vibrant, like it is for a child.
But what I noticed, is that none of this would have happened if this little girl hadn’t taken advantage of her knowledge of God and His prophet, Namaan may not have ever gone to be healed. He may have slowly rotted away in shame and anger, finding no solace in any idol or god of Syria. If another servant had not gently spoken for his master, Namaan would have gone back to Syria to die in anger.
One little voice in his life, with a sincere expression of faith and certainty in God, saved his life. One person who cared about him did not let disease or darkness take his life. It wasn’t even a grand hero or a lightning bolt from heaven that got his attention, but the report from the mouth of a little girl serving his wife. All it takes to save the life of someone who you know and love is a small, confident voice. A voice that knows God and knows what He can and will do, and talks about it with confidence.
Be that voice wherever you are. The people closest to you are in desperate need of your faith. It doesn’t matter what your position is, or even if your relationship is distant at best. One small voice saved the life of the great captain of the armies of the king of Syria.
Imagine what your voice can do.
Then he [Namaan] returned to the man of God with all his company, and came and stood before him. And he said, “Behold now, I know that there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel…” (2 Kings 5:15)