Now Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Syria, was a great and honorable man in the eyes of his master because by him the LORD had given victory to Syria. He was also a mighty man of valor, but a leper. And the Syrians had gone out on raids and had brought back captive a young girl from the land of Israel. She waited on Naaman’s wife. Then she said to her mistress, “If only my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria! For he would heal him of his leprosy.” (2 Kings 5:1-3)
Faith In A Dark Time
Joram (also called Jehoram) was the ninth king of the northern tribes of Israel following the division. His father was Ahab who did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, even more than any of the kings before him. He married Jezebel, the daughter of King Ethbaal of the Sidonians, and he began to bow down in worship of Baal. Ahab would rule Israel for 22 years unleashing a plague of ungodliness, murder, and idolatry. The prophet Elijah said of Ahab that no one else so completely sold himself to what was evil in the Lord’s sight as Ahab did under the influence of his wife Jezebel.
When Ahab died his son Ahaziah ruled the kingdom for two years. He did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, following the example of his father and mother and the example of Jeroboam son of Nebat, who had led Israel to sin. He served Baal and worshiped him, provoking the anger of the Lord, just as his father had done. Ahaziah died by the hand of God for seeking the counsel of Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron, instead of the Lord God. Because he had no son, his brother, and son of Ahab, Joram became king. He did evil before God but not like his father and mother. The king continued to lead the northern tribes in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat.
Somewhere in the hill country of the northern tribes, a devout family of God found joy in the birth of a little girl. They would cherish this little girl as a gift from God in a dark world given over to wickedness. No king that would rule the northern tribes were righteous. From Jeroboam until the Assyrians arrive in 722 B. C., the inhabitants of the ten tribes of Israel were living in a world dark with great wickedness. The leaders were wicked, the religious leaders were corrupt and the world was filled with ungodliness. One family struggled to keep their faith in God and teach their little girl to trust in the power of God. And then one day a cloud of dust appeared over the horizon and the worst nightmare for any family living in the northern part of Israel came true. The army of the Syrians attacked the cities and villages to loot, plunder and take captives. Included in the sweep by the Syrian army was the family of this young girl.
Nothing is known of the family of the little girl. Were they killed in the Syrian raid or taken captive with so many others? Did they survive the attack and live in the mountains away from the raiding parties? The scriptures are silent. What is known is that on one of the raids under the command of Naaman, the young girl was taken captive. She was given the servile task of working in the home of the Syrian commander’s wife. Her life would never be the same. For many who found themselves slaves of the Syrians, there would be resentment, hatred, and scorn. If anything tragic happened to the Syrians, they would rejoice. This was not the case of the young girl serving the wife of Naaman.
Faith in a dark time is where the young girl found the faith that God could do the impossible. What is remarkable about the young maiden is that she grew up in the world of Ahab, Ahaziah, and Joram. There were few influences of goodness and righteousness. Somewhere in all the putridity of sin that surrounded them, the family of this young lady taught her to trust in God. When she saw that Naaman was a leper, she implored her mistress to have him go to the prophet in Israel who would heal him of his leprosy. This was an incredible belief. Leprosy had no cure. Jesus would later remark many in Israel had leprosy in the time of the prophet Elisha, but the only one healed was Naaman. The little girl believed in something taught to her by her parents. She saw faith in a time of darkness; not only in her life but she could see hope for her master to take away his leprosy.
Life can be a challenge and when the world gets turned upside down it can be hard to see the good in it all. Ironically, the early church grew strong in the face of persecution which shows how the faithful work through the times of difficulty. The generation of the early twentieth century was known for their hard work, frugality, and courage. This came from the rugged times of the Great Depression, and two World Wars. Dark times are meant to test the mettle of men and no time is as clear as the present. Faith does not disappear in the darkness, it shines as light. The faith of the young girl who changed Naaman’s life was a light in a dark world of sin. Children of God must be the light in a dark world to show others why God’s way is the way of peace, security, love, and hope. The darkness that hangs over our world will end one day because behind every dark cloud the sun continues to shine. Faith must shine from the hearts of the disciples of the King who reigns and the God who rules. Let your light shine and let the world hear your trumpet of faith – loud and clear.