This past Sunday during the morning service I preached on 2 Kings 5, which discusses an Israelite girl that became one of the greatest unwilling missionaries in history. She was captured by the Syrians and made a servant to the wife of Naaman, the commander of the army. By the end of the chapter Naaman made a genuine confession of faith, and second only to the prophet Elisha, God uses this young girl to see that happen. I didn’t really discuss her in the sermon, because her story didn’t relate to the topic. Plus, I had to remove a large amount of notes, and she ended up a victim. Fortunately, she experienced some redemption in the form of this blog post! Although, the way people talk to me about my bulletin letters and blog posts (usually something like: “Don’t write about me!!!”) makes me think she might not see that too redemptive-ly.
Anyway, God beautifully used this girl to accomplish His purposes; she was captured by the evil Syrians, probably wondering why God would allow something like that to happen, and through her circumstances He brought about one of the greatest conversions in the OT. It wouldn’t be too much to say many people have probably felt like her at times, only to later be used by God in dramatic ways.
For example, Joseph’s brothers tried to murder him. He found himself thrown in a pit, then in prison, but before it was all over, he ended up as the savior of the known world, second in power only to Pharaoh. Daniel was captured by the Babylonians and brought into exile with three of his friends, but he ended up being the right hand man to multiple kings in two different kingdoms (Babylon and Persia). Ezekiel spent his life training to being a priest, but he must have figured his ministry was ruined when he was taken into exile. That’s when his ministry really began though, receiving the most famous and dramatic visions in the Bible, second only to The Revelation given to John. David killed Goliath, but then he went from being Israel’s greatest and most popular hero to a fugitive with his life daily in danger. By the time it was over though, God had delivered him through it all and he became the greatest king in the Old Testament.
Recently one of my heroes, Chuck Smith, went to be with the Lord. Last week I watched an interview between him and Greg Laurie that took place after he learned he had the lung cancer that would end up taking his life. Toward the end of the interview Greg asked him, “If you were going to do things over again, would you do anything differently?” and Chuck replied, “I think that the Lord had charge over the whole thing, so I wouldn’t try to improve on His program.” This really stuck with me, and reminded me how God has plans for our lives, but they don’t always take the route we’d expect (or often prefer).