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November 13 – Great but…

“For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.” – 2 Corinthians 4:11-12

Scripture reading: 2 Corinthians 4:7-12; 2 Kings 5:1-3

Naaman was a great man, but he was a leper, a picture of humanity. Favored by God, but with a malignant stain. We are also introduced to a little girl. Unlike Naaman, she is a believer in God and, upon hearing of his plight, sends him to the prophet of the Lord in Samaria. You might think that this girl, afflicted by sorrow at the hand of her master, might be vindictive and rejoice in his suffering. But in Jesus-like fashion, she seeks his blessing. How ought we, like our Saviour, to pursue the blessing of even our enemies?

The providence of God stares us in the face in the lives of these two characters. Both Naaman’s success and leprosy are from the sovereign Lord Who orchestrates all things. Naaman’s providential problem will eventually lead to his prosperity. Were it not for this unwanted intrusion in his life, he would have continued to live and die infatuated with himself and forever ignorant of the God of all grace.

What about the providence of God in the girl’s life? It might seem less kind. God’s providence was distressing as He wrenched her from her family and brought her to her captor’s home. In His providence, the Lord is shaping her life to be like the Lord Jesus’ life; she is disadvantaged for another’s advantage. Perhaps this is a good window into the hardships you are experiencing. Is God seeking another’s good through your pain? Are you willing to embrace this mode of God’s working and share in the sufferings of Christ? 

Suggestions for prayer

Pray for a compassionate heart for those afflicted by the malignancy of sin that we might point them to our Saviour. Ask for God’s blessing as His people gather for the hearing of His Word and the praising of His Name.

Reverend John van Eyk has served as Senior Pastor of Trinity Reformed Church (United Reformed) in Lethbridge, Alberta since 2017.

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