“Has your church “closed”?
Humans are ever seeking solutions to diverse issues that confront us day-by-day. However, solutions that lie outside the perfect, submissive will of God are bound to fail. We have people who cause things to happen, others who watch them happening as the rest wait for them to happen.
You & I are among them.
Year 2020 goes down in history when those with solutions had no power, while those with power had no solutions – in handling a silent, invisible, mysterious and by all intents, scandalous pestilence whose source remains shrouded in conspiracy theories as deaths and infections are reported daily through the media. Anxiety, stress, uncertainty, fear, panic, frustration, bitterness, pain can be felt across the world as individuals and nations lock horns owing to Covid-19 pandemic. Economies and individual livelihoods are threatened. The entire world is potentially sick to the extent we have to walk in masks and practically sanitize at every turn. But whether our moral behavior, mental and emotional health is also self-sanitizing is something else? Are we anxiously hoping for the curfew and lockdown to be lifted so we can continue in our usual ways? What could the strange turn of events be signaling concerning the myriad maladies [or is it leprosies] and other societal vices that we continue abetting including political “gerrymandering“? As our leader remarked recently “it is difficult to police a culture without values, politics without principles, work without ethics and worship without reverence to God”
It brings to mind two contrasting stories in the Bible that attracted healing by OBEDIENCE and FAITH, that of a maidservant and her master Naaman, a valiant Aramaian army general, and the other of a diligent Roman Centurion and his sick servant: 5Now Naaman, captain of the host of the king of Syria … he was also a mighty man in valour, but he was a leper. 2And the Syrians had gone out by companies, and had brought away captive out of the land of Israel a little maid; and she waited on Naaman’s wife. 3And she said unto her mistress, Would God my lord were with the prophet that is in Samaria! For he would recover him of his leprosy….8And it was so, when Elisha the man of God had heard … let him come now to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel. 9So Naaman came with his horses and with his chariot, and stood at the door of the house of Elisha.10And Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean.11But Naaman was wroth, and went away, and said, Behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the Lord his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper…..13And his servants came near, and spake unto him, and said, My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? How much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean? ……14Then went he down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God: and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean. [2 Kings 5:1 … 14]. Contrast this story with the other (both of them considered Gentiles)…..5Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him (some versions indicate he sent forth Jewish elders), pleading with Him, 6saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.” 7And Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.” 8The centurion answered and said, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed. 9For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”10When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel! 11And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 13Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you.” And his servant was healed that same hour. [Matthew 8:5-13; Luke 7:1-9]
We have witnessed and tested the demonstration of a world without things that normally offer us pleasure, satisfaction and solutions – no schooling, clubbing, sporting, traveling, exorbitant weddings or elaborate funerals, religious “exorcism” and even “normal” hospitalization! We are at a place where the faith of many is stretched to the limit. Some say life will never be the same again, others continue with their lives as usual as more wait with bated breath to “see” what happens next! As to whether we can mend our ways,or not,can be demonstrated in the dramatic cure of Naaman and the transference of his leprosy to Elisha’s dishonest servant, Gehazi. A leader in mighty Aram sought the God of Israel, while Israel’s own king would not. The little girl’s faith and Naaman’s intentional quest contrast with the obstinate king of Israel (5:7). In the contrasting case the Roman Centurion, also an outsider to Jewish customs and the God of Israel demonstrates faith Jesus to heal his servant even by decree, hence a few lessons we may derive from the two accounts:
- No matter how humble, small, or mighty we are, God’s purpose in our lives will stand for His glory, for as long as we are willing to humble ourselves;
- We have opportunities to tell others about God and what He can do wherever we are;
- Obedience to God begins with humility and not pride or arrogance;
- God can use anything [including this Corona-19 lockdown] to accomplish His purpose;
- Elisha refused Naaman’s money to demonstrate that God’s favor cannot be purchased. Our money is useless in the face of calamity and we must be worry of our motives, from greed, deceit and corruption to avoid falling in Gehazi’s state;
- If we despise those we consider outside our circles or humble status, we may miss the blessing – Naaman’s wife did well to take her housemaids advice, just as Naaman also took his wives advice. The result of the humility was total healing;
- God’s grace breaks human protocols – and can reach those outside of the Christian faith as demonstrated by the Roman Centurion’s love and care of his ailing servant, not to mention the good testimony concerning him among the Jewish community, and, his faith in Jesus to offer the SOLUTION;
- What matters is FAITH in JESUS!. The Centurion did not have to see Jesus in person to believe;
- Our OBEDIENCE, TRUST & CONFIDENCE in Jesus should be complete and strong enough to trust his WORD and POWER!
As a nation, communities, tribes and individuals, we have many “leprosies” so to speak that we need to humble ourselves in obedience so that we may obtain God’s mercy and healing. All of us are playing similar roles to the characters depicted in the above narrative. I am one among them! It is a time we seek divine wisdom, understanding and a discerning spirit more than ever before, if we shall humble ourselves and walk in obedience to the will of God. We are forewarned that God can use any means excluding politicians and the religious fraternity to bring healing and revival to a nation with an obstinate mindset.
We ought to continue praying for the nation and the leaders we have entrusted to govern us, for divine counsel and the will of God on earth as in heaven to prevail, because at the end of the day the decisions they make affect us directly and influence the way we live in the natural and physical realm.
Meanwhile, I hope you haven’t “closed” your “church”. You and I are one of them
Truly in service,
Originally posted by Dann Matthews W’Obukosia