In 2 Kings 5:14, Naaman has an impressive résumé. He was a man of great and many accomplishments – a military strategist. It was because of him, not because of the king that God allowed Syria to have victories. All of a sudden, all of those accomplishments pushed aside, his accolades and litany of honour – there comes this conjunction ‘but’, which brings a contradiction to all his accomplishments.
The narrative lists all accomplishments and ends by saying but he has leprosy. The conjunction word ‘but’ has the power grammatically to negate everything that came in front of it. The mention of any one thing behind the ‘but’ seems to cast a shadow upon all of the accomplishments that Naaman has in his life.
It was as if they were saying to us, that what he had was bigger than he who he was. His character was wiped out by his condition: that the sum total and value of your life is not in what you have accomplished, but is in the conditions you have to deal: that everything of honour you have done, can be wiped out by the power of anything you go through. Interesting to me that this is not Naaman here writing about himself. It is not Naaman describing himself.
It is someone else who is describing Naaman, based on what they think about who he is. Firstly, remember that people will sometimes seek to disqualify you and devalue you all because of one thing they know about you.
God has blessed you to do many things and how to, in spite of everything He has blessed you with – you have one thing that seems to negate everything else that’s great in your life. BUT here is the lesson of the story: I don’t have to say about me what they say about me, because what you think about me is rooted and grounded in your own issues: While I can’t disagree on what you say I have, I can’t agree that it has control on me like you say it does over me! No one has the privilege, power and authority to define me for me; to determine for me the value and worth of my life – because when you know who you are, you won’t let anyone tell you who you are. That’s why it is important that you are rooted and grounded in Godly self-confidence; when you know whose you are and know you are fearfully and wonderfully made in the image and likeness of God – made just a little lower than the angels; it will not bother you when other people define and devalue you based on what they think about you. You can laugh it off, turn away from it because you know that the only person who has the power to tell you who you are, is the One who made you.
Secondly, look at all God did through him with something being wrong with you. This meditation isn’t for perfect people: not for you who has never messed up, or doesn’t have issues and conditions; whose record is clean. This meditation is for people who say: I got a lot of stuff that could have knocked me down; disqualified me ‘but’ instead of looking at what’s wrong with me, I look at all God did through me in spite of what was going – I am favoured with flaws.
It for anybody who knows you are not perfect; that you are not holy but you are usable. You’ve got issues with yourself but God can use you. I have made some bad choices and bad decisions ‘but’ God can still turn you around.
BUT I thank God that I am not perfect but I am available Lord!!
Prayer: I am coming Lord as I am, pleading you to cleanse and heal me. Thank you for using me in spite of my shortcomings and in spite of the blemish on my life. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen
Rev. Willem Simon Hanse
Pastor of St. Mark AME Church, Gibeon,
Presiding Elder of the Johannes Ludwig District