OUR AFFLICTIONS HAVE A PURPOSE
2 Kings 5:1-3
Is it that most of the time when we have problems, we immediately cast them out in Jesus’ name?
Little do we understand that problems come to us to serve their purpose not to break us but to build us.
It’s not meant to decrease us but rather to increase us.
Our afflictions, our conditions, our problems no matter to what degree have always been the solution.
“Do not be discouraged by our situation nor be disappointed by your condition if you know exactly that God has always a solution.”
The NAAMAN STORY
Naaman was captain of King of Aram’s army, a great and vibrant man, courageous and highly respected, and a man of authority.
He was a national hero in Syria just like David in Israel. He was victorious and dangerous in every battle.
A man of valor, God has predestined him as an instrument of Aram’s success in all their battle.
The Problem Beneath
But despite all Naaman’s greatness and prestige, he had a problem. He was a leper.
He was mighty in the outside battle but Naaman was undergoing a secret battle inside.
Naaman has been in a secret storm.
Many of us may be successful in where we are right now but deep within, we are in a secret battle that God only knows.
Naaman had managed to hide his afflictions through his prestige and popularity.
He had able to hide his conditions behind the helmet and armor that he wore.
How do we hide our problem? Many of us also put the icing on our situations to hide the real truth of our conditions.
But we cannot hide it for long.
We may get envious of our bosses because they seem to be well off, wealthy and powerful. But we don’t know of their inner struggles. They may be driving the most expensive car and living in an elegant house but they are suicidal. They may be four months behind on their mortgage.
They seem to be living but like so many of us, they are also surviving. They have the money but they also suffering from diabetes or their family is not stable.
They may have everything but they are not happy because they are still looking for something.
Naaman is like that. He had everything but deep inside he was dying.
You may have everything but dying; some have not that much but living”.
OUR PROBLEMS DILEMMA
Naaman had the dreaded disease Leprosy.
It is a disfiguring disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae bacteria which results in the lack of ability to feel pain and thus loss of parts and extremities due to repeated injuries or infection due to unnoticed wounds.
This disease slowly eats human flesh.
But leprosy is not just about in the physical realm. We may be suffering from spiritual leprosy, emotional leprosy, or financial leprosy.
Our afflictions are like leprosy that we don’t notice and it’s slowly eating us.
It’s slowly draining our energy.
YOU CAN’T HIDE IT FOR LONG
No matter how we hide, it will surpass and float in time. We cannot make ourselves invisible from others by pretending that everything seems to be fine.
Naaman cannot control the nose of his peers from sniffing the stink that comes from his wounds.
He may manage not to disclose it from his comrade, but at home, she needs the aid of his slave to help her cleanse his wounds.
No stink that cannot be smelled. You need someone to comfort us, assist us when we have our afflictions.
YOU MAY BE LIVING BUT DYING
Another dilemma about our situations is when we only live to survive.
When start to compare ourselves to anybody around us.
When we start to look at our conditions while seeing others are doing fine and seems others are doing all right.
When we focus on our conditions and convince ourselves that there is no cure to sickness then we are in the state of just surviving.
YOU MAY BE LIVING BUT OTHERS ARE LEAVING
Another painful dilemma when we are in our leprous conditions is when everyone is leaving and no one is willing to help.
In the olden days, lepers were being separated away from the community and considered them as unclean. They were provided with a bell so that they could warn others when they were near.
When we have those situations, it’s more agonizing than even friends are rare to be found because they feel dreaded about you?
They feel your situations are now at a dead end.
WHEN THERE SEEMS TO BE NO SOLUTION
Another worse thing about being in a deep problem is when they told you that there is no more solution to that problem.
When once the doctor has given an ultimatum that a man has already months to live.
This was Naaman’s predicament because he knows exactly that his leprosy has no cure.
There was no benefit or comfort in his disease. There was no medical expert at that time and they consider that this affliction is not a disease but a curse.
When we are in Naaman condition, we tend to “google” the situation and know exactly what our chance of survival is. We read a lot of medical books and self-help guides.
What is happening today, many learn to know much about their condition just to validate their hopelessness.
Little we don’t know, in times like this, we need to know more about the God who can heal us as He is the source of our life.
SOLUTIONS LITTLE DID WE KNOW
In verses 2-3, they have taken a captive little girl from the land of Israel and she became their slave.
Unknown to Naaman, the solution to his affliction is just right inside his house.
The little girl was instrumental in solving Naaman’s illness.
Is it when we go to battle that God already delivered them into our hands.
It is when before all the first-born babies were killed during the time of Moses that God already prepared the Pharaoh’s palace for him.
It is when before Joseph was sold to the Egyptian traders and suffered in Egypt that God already prepare the ring he will wear to rule as the second in command to Pharaoh.
When we lost our job, God has already prepared a new and better job for us.
But never expect that God has prepared a new husband for you when your spouse falls ashtrays. Don’t throw them away, just need some recycling.
All afflictions, problems, and temptations are common to man and God is faithful that He will not allow you to be tempted and tested beyond your ability to endure but He will provide you the way to escape as well.
FACING OUR AFFLICTIONS
I remember somebody says that the most difficult problem to face is when the problem is our face.
There is no exception.
Each of us has our own infirmities and we deal with them differently.
Never think that our problem is too big that we belittle the problem of others.
The little maiden, somehow little she was had also big problems. She was a woman, a captive, a slave, away from her family.
She had no freedom, no reputation of her own.
But little she was on the outside; she was big on the inside. What made her big is the God that she knows.
OUR AFFLICTION IS OTHERS SOLUTION
The woman’s problem became the solution to Naaman’s problem.
Your burden right now is the answer to others’ suffering.
You may be working away from your family and you missed them so much but the fact that you have these problems you are the answer to their problems as well.
You may be taking care of other children to sustain the needs of your own children.
You may be working in the home for the aged and you cannot personally take care of your old parents because you know the fact that you support her medication being away from them
Your sufferings and your burdens may be the solutions to others’ burdens.
The little girl’s problem is an instrument to bring Naaman in knowing God.
Naaman’s problem is an instrument to bring him humility and knowing the God Almighty.
OUR AFFLICTION FOR OUR OWN SOLUTIONS
Naaman on his way to Samaria brought with him the recommendation letter from the king of Aram, six thousand shekels of gold, ten talents, and ten changes of clothes.
We need to understand that even all our connections with the kings, all our wealth, our prestige, and our positions cannot solve all our problems.
All of these are not the answers to all your problems because if we think so, then we don’t need God anymore.
Our problems sometimes are the answer to our own problems.
To Know there is GOD
God has the purpose for why we went through all of these so that we know that there is God who can demonstrate His power.
In verse 8, Elisha said to the king never to be angry and don’t send back Naaman for him to know that there is a prophet in Israel.
We may not know why we are afflicted or amid troubles but God wanted us to experience miracles.
Our problems are like a forging instrument molding us to be someone God wants us to be transformed.
Far behind every obstacle is a miracle for those who believe.
There are no afflictions that there are no solutions to if we put it in the hand of God who knows best.
To Obey and Trust the Lord
In verses 10-11 Elisha sent a messenger to tell him that he has to go to the Jordan river and wash them seven times and his skin shall be restored and he will be clean.
But Naaman was so furious and went away sad.
Our affliction teaches us to obey and be humble before God and heed his instruction.
Our usual response to our problem is to complain and become furious about our situations.
We tend to blame it on others, blame our fate and blame God.
People even remain proud thinking that they can do everything with their money, with someone whom they know.
God wanted us to do exactly what He wanted us to do.
He wanted us to dip down, bow down, stooped down, and acknowledge that we cannot do anything.
God will restore us when we follow (2 Kings 5:14)
He taught Naaman a lesson to forget himself and leave his fate in the hands of God.
God brings us to our knees and to prostrate to Him who is due of our reverence.
OUR PROBLEMS HAVE A PURPOSE
When we are blest, we are blest anyhow.
Never be so focused on your problem that you think that you are not blessed, because problems may seem to be a blessing in disguise.
It does not mean to harm you but to build you.
It does not mean to break you but to strengthen you.
It brings you to your knees to make you a man God will be pleased with.
May you find God’s purpose in your afflictions,