Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Aram, was a great man and in high favor with his master, because by him the Lord had given victory to Aram. The man, though a mighty warrior, suffered from leprosy.” vs. 12 Kings 5:1-3, 7-8
Aram was a neighboring kingdom to Israel, and the two countries were combative rivals for many years. Around the time of Elisha, Aram had an especially effective commander for its army and had won a series of battles. The Israelites believed that the Lord had given Aram those victories. That was settled religious belief! Victory was always associated with the Lord, even if the winner was a pagan! This continues to be the underlying assumption in our culture on nearly every level. As a result, we’ve gotten used to seeing people in almost every conceivable situation giving thanks and praise to the Lord for their victories. Pitchers, quarterbacks, golfers, politicians, anyone who has won anything, stand before the cameras and give all the credit to God. It reminds us of a famous quotation, “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing!” But is that true? Naaman was a great man, but he suffered from leprosy, and he couldn’t find healing until he had humbled himself. To win victories in any competition can bring momentary pleasures, but it really isn’t because God favors us. It’s just something that happens. But the truth is that our greatest gains come in our losing! It’s in the humiliation of those moments that we can actually find our greatest unity with Christ.
Thought for the Day: How can losing draw me closer to Christ?