Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Challenge or Opportunity?

Over the past few weeks, the story of Naaman has popped up at least three times. When that happens, you tend to sit up and take notice of it.

One of the things that strikes me about the story (which you can read in 2 Kings 5) is the difference in reactions from the king of Israel and from Elisha. Read verses 6-8:

The letter that he took to the king of Israel read: "With this letter I am sending my servant Naaman to you so that you may cure him of his leprosy."
As soon as the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his robes and said, "Am I God? Can I kill and bring back to life? Why does this fellow send someone to me to be cured of his leprosy? See how he is trying to pick a quarrel with me!"

When Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his robes, he sent him this message: "Why have you torn your robes? Have the man come to me and he will know that there is a prophet in Israel."

When approached by Namaan, the king immediately saw it as a challenge, and a situation wherein he would lose some of his own power. Contrast this with when Elisha encountered the situation. Elisha saw it for what it really was - an opportunity for God's power and might to be shown.

Which got me thinking, how do WE react when faced with challenges from people questioning us about God? Do we get worried or depressed that we'll say the wrong thing, or that they'll laugh at us and we'll lose face with them? Or will we praise God that He's getting an opportunity to work through us, and show Himself to those people?

Philemon verse 6 reads "I pray that you will be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ." When faced with questions and with challenges, it's an opportunity for our own lives and our own knowledge of who we are in Christ to be strengthened! While Namaan benefited greatly from his experience in Israel, surely Israel also benefited - because they had the opportunity to see how great and powerful their God was.

So in all circumstances, don't be afraid to do a shift in your mindset and turn challenges into opportunities. Everyone benefits, and God gets the glory.