02 October 2013

Naaman's Slave Girl: My Healing Hurt

2 Kings 5

I'm uprooted, homeless, exiled,
hurt, in a place I don't want to be,
a slave, unloved, without a voice -
I cannot understand.

Why am I here?
Oh God, why did you allow it?
My life was before me, all of my plans -
why have you dashed them,
why banished me
to this place where I languish
and cannot shine?

Some say
when you are hurting
you have a right to hurt,
to hear only your pain,
be deaf to that of others,
especially your oppressors.
But when I see my master
how can I close my ears?

In some ways, we are so alike:
helpless, hurt, outsiders.
They fear to touch him,
hate to look at him;
their respect is a thin veil
over disgust and contempt.
They do not hear his pain
just like they don't hear mine.
I cannot turn away,
though he is an oppressor,
when I know how to help.

And now I realise why I'm here,
and why you have allowed my pain.
Without my exile
who else could have helped him?
Without my hurt
how would he have been healed?
I'm a link in the chain -
at the right place, the right time.

How strange it is
that my sorrow has healed his -
that you have put purpose
even into my pain.
My burden is lighter
now that I carry his.
For I am in the place
where you want me to be,
and you, God, have a plan with me
though I can't see
or can't see why.

So give me strength to bear my hurts
and bear the hurts of others.
Let me not be here in vain,
but give me joy and open eyes,
to be your light in this exile,
thinking of others and giving to them
what I'd want them to give to me.

And just because
this is the place you want me to be
makes it the right place for me.
And just because
you touch others through me
makes my pain worthwhile -
and takes it away.


[January 2012]

Naaman's maid was one of the first missionaries, in a sense.
And we should learn from her, really. She didn't think in terms of "my country" and "the enemies". She thought in terms of needy people, instead of thinking first of her rights. In the end, it was Elisha who healed Naaman - but it was the maid who mentioned the possibility, so that Naaman went and asked at all.

One thought that really influenced this poem, or that I was reminded of again while writing it, is something my mother told me when I was having problems and really upset. She said to forget my cares by caring for others. (Or something along those lines) And I think that's very true. The worst one can do is wallow in one's problems and try to spoil oneself and everything. It one is really busy caring for other people, one ends up forgetting what one was so upset about.
(I wrote something else about this too once: [link])

Another thought that was in my mind while writing this is that sometimes, we may not like the things that are happening, and end up asking, "WHY God?" Which is a valid question to ask, I suppose. But God has ways above our own and He leads everything to the best. Naaman's maid was parted from her family, she had to become a slave. Nothing pleasant. But she ended up being in the right place at the right time to help somebody. Everything happens for a purpose - often we only see afterwards, though.

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