Welcome! I’m so glad you’re joining us for this fourteen-week Bible study based on Girls’ Love Letters from God. If you have time, you may wish to keep a journal to record your responses to the questions. Please DO leave comments, responses or questions on this post so that we can learn from and encourage one another.
The Servant Girl
Read 2 Kings 5:1-16
Last week I saw an amazing movie called Hidden Figures. If you haven’t seen it yet, GO. It tells the untold true story of three brilliant African-American women, who served as the brains behind one of NASA’s greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit. The film’s tag-line is:
Meet The Women You Don’t Know. Behind The Mission You Do.
Our Bible heroine for this week is also a hidden figure. She is largely unknown. We don’t even know her name. We’ll find her with a broom in her hand, sweeping floors, preparing meals, making beds, serving quietly in the household of the commander of the Syrian army. But this quiet, unassuming, insignificant girl has the power to change lives.
Imagine for a moment, if you can, what life had held so far for this young Jewish girl.
Let’s assume she’d been happily living in Israel with her family until one day, a dreadful event occurs. A band of Syrian forces descends on her village, and our little girl is carried off to a foreign country, where she becomes a servant, a refugee in the home of the commander of the army.
How awful! I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure that if it was me in that situation, this is how I’d react:
I would be distraught, disheartened and downright devastated.
I would cry myself to sleep every single night.
If I was brave enough, I might try to run away.
I would probably lose all my faith.
I’m almost certain I would rant and rave at God.
I would plead, why me?
And I would, without doubt, hate, loathe and detest my master.
And remember, I’m a grown woman. This is a young girl we’re talking about. But instead of doing all those things, it seems that she does the exact opposite…
Naaman’s servant girl seems to be calm, sensible, hard-working and compassionate. You could flip through her story several times and nowhere would you find the slightest whiff of self-pity.
In fact, instead of feeling sorry for herself, this young girl feels sorry for her master, the one responsible for her captivity, who happens to suffer from leprosy.
This is a girl who knows God, trusts God, is not afraid to talk about God, and who has absolute faith that God is the one who can heal her master of his skin disease. She bravely approaches her mistress with words of wisdom and says:
I wish that my master could go to the prophet who lives in Samaria! He would cure him of his disease. 2 Kings 5:3
Did you hear the conviction in this girl’s voice? She doesn’t say maybe Elisha can cure her master, or perhaps, but: He would cure him of his disease.
And that is exactly what happened. Not only does Naaman find the cure for his leprosy, but he also finds the only One who could have delivered him from it. We can almost hear the awe in his voice, as he looks down to examine his perfect skin and exclaims:
Now I know that there is no god but the God of Israel! 2 Kings 5:15
How wonderful! This little servant girl, who was so ready to share her faith, is the means by which Naaman, the commander of the entire Syrian army, came to know God.
We don’t know what Naaman did with his discovery, but we can be sure that whenever he was asked about his leprosy and the cure, he must have talked about God.
Think, for a moment, about the people whose lives must have been impacted because of this servant girl, and her faith in God.
Naaman was forever changed, and those who heard his story were changed too: his wife; the other servants living in their home; the people in their village; Naaman’s extended family; the soldiers in his army; their families; the kings Naaman met with in neighboring countries… the list could go on and on.
The influence of Naaman’s servant girl spread far beyond the home where she quietly cooked and cleaned. Her influence spread into the world.
She was a hidden figure. As a young servant girl, she had no authority, the least power, and the most lowly position.
Yet, in the hands of God, she had the power to impact the world. And she did.
The following prayer is known as The Peace Prayer. Penned by St. Francis in the thirteenth century, its words perfectly describe the attributes of Naaman’s servant girl.
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
Please share your response to one of these questions in the comments.
Questions for Reflection
- What impresses you most about this story?
- If you could have a conversation with Naaman’s servant girl, what would you ask her?
- When have you felt insignificant? How could this story encourage you?
- Think of someone you know who could be described as a hidden figure. How could you encourage or empower them?
In 1944, less than one year before her death, another young girl, by the name of Anne Frank, wrote:
It’s utterly impossible for me to build my life on a foundation of chaos, suffering and death. I see the world being slowly transformed into a wilderness; I hear the approaching thunder that, one day, will destroy us too. I feel the suffering of millions. And yet, when I look up at the sky, I somehow feel that everything will change for the better, that this cruelty too shall end, that peace and tranquility will return once more.
Compare her story with that of Naaman’s servant girl. What similarities do you find?