Dwight Fletcher | The 'Mission impossibles' of life
If you have been on the journey with us these last four weeks, you know that we have looked at our shared experiences of life through the lens of the scriptures. In week one, we considered that the storms of life don't come to kill us, but to lead us to Christ. We then reflected on how yesterday's issues can strangle away today's opportunities. Over the last two weeks, we have looked at how God can turn our false starts in life around and create restarts.
But, what happens when life deals us impossible situations that we are unable to handle - The 'mission impossibles' of life? In those times of crisis, can God help us?
The answer is a resounding 'Yes!'. God has the answer and can rescue you. He says "Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know." Jeremiah 33:3 NIV
In 2 Kings 6, Israel was in a 'mission impossible' position. The Armenian army, led by Ben-Hadad, was at war with Israel. Ben-Hadad's army had laid siege against Samaria, and it wasn't long before all the resources within the city were scarce and the people began to starve.
One day, as the king walked along the walls of this seemingly doomed city in utter despair (his people had even turned to cannibalism), a woman cried out to him for help. The king responded: "If the Lord doesn't help you, what can I do ...?" 2 Kings 6:27 NLT. The king recognised the magnitude of his problem and realised that only God could solve it.
Have you ever found yourself in a position where your back is against the wall and you need help? What do we do when something is outside the realm of our ability to solve?
The first step is to engage God. But even when we make this step, we have to be patient and wait on God. Sometimes God takes a long time to deliver on His promise because He wants us to recognise something about ourselves or our situations. This may lead to frustration, but God is turning our hearts to Him. "The Lord isn't really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake..." 2 Peter 3:9 NLT
In the passage, out of frustration, the king went to Elisha the prophet with the intent to kill him, but Elisha proclaimed that Israel would be saved, and in 24 hours, the economic situation in Samaria was completely reversed. God is the God of the impossible and He wants to breakthrough in our lives in a way that touches us deeply and profoundly.
POWER OF GOD
However, it is no surprise that as soon as God intervenes miraculously and demonstrates His love, or when we set out to receive from God, the sceptics arise: "The officer on whose arm the king was leaning said : 'if the Lord should open the floodgates of the heavens, could this happen?' 'You will see it with your own eyes,' answered Elisha, 'but you will not eat any of it!'" 2 Kings 7:2-3 NIV.
The officer's speech illustrates the conduct of unbelief which dares to question the truthfulness of God's promise. Our scepticism has the potential to deny us God's blessing. If we have challenges believing, it is better for us to be honest. "I do believe; but help me overcome my unbelief!" Mark 9:24 NLT.
The narrative then takes an incredible turn to a group of leprous men who stayed at the entrance of the city gate because they were not welcome inside the city. "Why are we sitting here until we die? And they rose at twilight to go to the camp of the Syrians; and when they had come to the outskirts of the Syrian camp ..., no one was there," vs. 3-5 NKJV. Their leprous condition made them outcasts, but they believed that they would be better off if they surrendered to the Syrians, the enemies.
When they arrived at the Syrian camp, they discovered it unoccupied but fully supplied with food and all kinds of good things. The Lord did this. "... the Lord had caused the army of the Syrians to hear ... noise of a great army ... and they fled for their lives" vs 6-7. Sometimes, God doesn't do the logical, and gives us deliverance through the most unlikely means. Israel was powerless against this besieging army, but God wasn't. The enemy may be attacking you and you are powerless against them, but God is not.
The siege on Samaria was over. After enjoying the food, the lepers realised their responsibility to share the good news. "... This day is a day of good news, and we remain silent ... . come, let us go and tell the king's household," v. 9. The lepers reported the good news to the gatekeepers of the city and when the king found out that it was true, he told the people.
We cannot effectively share the good news of Jesus Christ unless we ourselves are enjoying it. So what is your need? My encouragement to you is to not be like the king's officer who scoffed at the power of God because of unbelief. The officer saw the blessings at a distance, but never tasted it because the people trampled him in the gate and he died, just as Elisha, the man of God, had said.
The temptation of many is to see God as no more than a teacher of moral principles. Let's not fall into the trap and come so close but not engage God. Rather, give God a chance. He is waiting for us to come to Him.