A couple of years ago, I gave my daughter a storybook about women of the bible. We read a children’s storybook bible, watched movies about Moses and Joseph, did crafts for David and Goliath but we were really missing the women.
I wanted my daughter (and my son) to know women like Deborah and Ruth and Lydia and Jael. And to know them well. This book fits the bill.
Of course, Saffron’s favorite story in the book is Esther because she was the winner of a beauty pageant.
But my kids ARE getting it. They know the midwives saved the nation of Israel because they refused to kill the Hebrew baby boys when they were born. Pharaoh told them to, but they quietly kept right on allowing the boys to live. Then Jochebed took the next step and refused to kill her son, Moses. And he led them out of Eygpt. My kids can tell you that story and it starts with, “But the women really saved Israel!”
Yes, they did, Littles.
(SIDENOTE: Yes, I realize that is an over-simplification of the story and yes, I know God actually saved them but THE WOMEN HELPED.)
Anyway, this book, Brave Girls Bible Stories, covers so many of the courageous women of the bible including those women without names.
Like our Israeli servant girl in Naaman’s story.
“Now bands of raiders from Aram had gone out and had taken captive a young girl from Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. She said to her mistress, “If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.” Naaman went to his master and told him what the girl from Israel had said.” ~ 2 Kings 5:2-4 (emphasis mine)
In researching Naaman’s story for our A Grateful Holiday series (at this point, I think Naaman has become our holiday mascot), several authors commented on the Servant Girl. Her faithfulness, her boldness, her bravery. And all of that is likely incredibly true of her.
But really, I just want us to talk about this…
She chose to share.
In this story, Naaman stands for everything the world values; wealth, power, success, fame. A pagan devoted to victory and conquering those weaker than him.
And because of that, he was dying. Physically, maybe, but spiritually, certainly.
Our Servant Girl was a foreigner, a slave, easily replaced by any number of servants already in the house (or ones that might join after another victory) but she chose to speak up regardless of her position. She offered a solution to Naaman’s physical and spiritual deadly ending.
She lived a hard life. I cannot imagine the horrors she had endured. Not to mention, she was likely just a child. Life, even a peaceful one, wasn’t easy and luxurious. Washing clothes in her own home with her mom would have been hard, but she likely lost her family in the same raid that brought her to Naaman’s wife. Now, here she was, serving as a maid, a slave, to the wife of one of the most powerful, wealthy, and successful military commanders in the world.
She knew God. I imagine her mother had spent those days handwashing clothing telling her of God’s faithfulness, His love, His power. He was their deliverer, their cloud in the daytime and fire in the night. And while we may, and Naaman certainly did, try to show people our power we are through our wealth, fame, and success, we are not great. God’s greatness far outshines anything we might be able to offer in this world.
She knew God’s greatness. And she must have believed fully that His greatness was not something to be kept hidden. Even from the people who owned her as their slave. If God was great enough to save the entire nation of Isreal from Pharoah, great enough to keep her safe through a horrible raid, great enough to give her to Naaman’s wife, a woman she must have respected and loved, well, then God was great enough to save Naaman.
Our Israeli Servant girl had a choice: Tell Naaman’s wife of the man of God who could save him or keep silent.
She chose to speak up.
Here’s the thing, we are just like her. What we know about her, we know to be true of ourselves.
We live hard lives sometimes.
We show up. Every day. To a job, a car in need of repair, a classroom, a boss, a bible study circle, a co-worker, a child, a sick loved one, a tiny bank account, a chemo appointment, an empty crib. But we keep showing up.
And we show up because we know, we repeat to ourselves, we write it on our bathroom mirrors, that Christ has not given us a spirit of fear. We know that God provides a meal for the sparrow every single day so we can trust Him with our need for daily bread. We show up to the places of grief and pain and hunger and need and greed and loneliness because that is exactly where God has called us to be.
Your job, your home, your small group, your neighborhood, your PTA, your spin class, your grocery store, none of that is an accident or a punishment or desert experience.
If that child, the servant girl serving in the home of a power, wealthy, successful warrior can endure and speak and be the messenger she was sent to be, then so can you.
So can you.
We know God.
We read the scriptures. And even if it’s been six months or six years since we last picked up our bible, we know God. We see Him in the sunrise and sunset. We see the colors of the leaves as they fall for the winter. We see newborn babies. We see videos and testimonies and stories shared on social media that leave us in tears.
We know God because all of creation points us to Him.
Those Bible stories of our childhood. David and Goliath. Mary and Joseph. Noah and the Ark. Moses and the Ten Commandments. Joshua blowing down the walls of Jericho with trumpets. Those aren’t frivolous fairytales. They are your ancestors, the legacy of your faith. You were just as much part of God’s plan when David slung that smooth stone as you were when Jesus walked out of that tomb. God knew you before you took your first breath.
We know Him because He is a part of us everywhere, in everything.
We fully believe God’s greatness is big enough.
His love, His grace, His pursuit of us, it is greater than anything we have done or will do. He is bigger than the natural disasters, than the violence of evil, than the burden of daily surrender. He was bigger than the Red Sea and He is bigger than any sea of challenges we face.
Those prayers you’ve offered when you had no other option, the pleads and tears you cried when you realized you had no power to change circumstances, the heaviness your soul carries as you move through a season of grief and loneliness and uncertainty, all shout towards your understanding of God’s greatness.
He is God and we are not. And we are grateful for that.
Right Where You Are Right Now…
Friend, just like the Israeli Servant girl, we are brave enough to say, Hey, I know God. I know His greatness. I know His power. He can heal you. You just have to agree to move towards Him.
I want to be the Israeli Servant girl. I want to say to people I see hurt and dying and searching for some sort of purpose to this broken life, Hey, I know God. And He can heal you.
You are brave. You know God. You know His greatness.
And God put you exactly where you are, in your every day, ordinary, walking-around life, to speak up and tell people about Him.
We have to release this idea that we’ll have a voice, we’ll speak up, we’ll be ready to be brave and bold about God when _______ happens.
When we have more money.
When we have a nicer house.
When we get that promotion.
When we find our “tribe.”
When we finish that project.
When we lose ten pounds.
When we (fill in the blank), then we’ll be ready to speak up.
This season, the holiday season, we must release our hold on perfect and chose present instead.
Wake up every morning, look at our Christmas trees with handmade ornaments and offer thanks for the presents we can afford to give that are neatly wrapped under that tree. Gratefully give to those who might not have a single present under the tree at all without the generosity of others. Laugh when our Christmas card photos come out more mad than glad. Share a holiday cookie with your neighbor while she shares from her heart.
Chose to be the Israeli Servant Girl this season.
And choose to share God right where you are right now.
No matter how humble, how overlooked, how undervalued the world may see you and your role, God placed you right there, where you are, right at this moment for His glory.
And maybe, just maybe, we might witness a healing.