Have you ever found yourself in a place you didn't want to be?
I'm not simply talking geographically, but more poignantly relationally. Maybe your own choices (right or wrong) brought you to this uncomfortable place. Perhaps it was someone else's choice and you had no say in it. Regardless you find yourself in a place of awkward tension and irreversible discomfort.
In a word, TRAPPED.
And trapped in this world of discontentment, with swirling angst and tension on all sides, how do we do what we are called to do. How do we love well?
When I was a kid, my pastor preached a whole sermon on an obscure character in Scripture. 2 Kings 5:2 tells us about a little girl "taken captive from Israel" by bands from Aram and forced into slavery.
The Bible gives us little more information about her background. But we can extrapolate much from this one verse. Fundamentally, the little girl was in a place where she did not want to be. She had suffered great loss -- the loss of family, friends, home, culture, lifestyle, freedom, and all those hopes and dreams that little girls have regarding what their lives will be like when they grow up. We can only speculate as to the brutality she witnessed, if not experienced.
She was but a child, still she was old enough to know who she was. And that was one thing they could not take away. She remembered there was a God in Israel and His prophet did extraordinary things. It must have all seemed so far away -- until her master became a leper.
In a place she did not want to be, held by those who had destroyed her life, she had every reason to be discontent, bitter, and angry. And then he who had caused her so much suffering in her youthful innocence, began to suffer!
GO GET HIM, GOD!
Time to celebrate JUSTICE!!!!
"Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord!" Right? Muhahahahaha.
But that was not her response. At the end of verse 2, we read her only words recorded: "If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy."
The master, Naaman, went. And God healed him.
There is no indication that this child ever was set free from her place of hardship because of this good deed. In fact, there is no indication she even received a reward. She likely lived out the rest of her life in slavery.
So what's the point?
Her circumstances did not change her character and her character did not change her circumstances.
Still, she made a choice to make the most of a bad situation -- to practice contentment which enabled her to love well even in the face of her own suffering -- and those actions brought glory to God.
That made all the difference.
Lately, I’ve found myself in a place of awkward tension – a place I really do not want to be. My choices (which I believe are right) brought me to this place. May I learn to love well and “practice love” in the face of it – even if those choices never free me from my place of hardship.
May bringing glory to God be enough for me.