Daily Reform, 2 Kings 5:1-14
From the Reformer
When there was a great famine for three years and a half, there were many widows in Israel, whose want of food Elijah was not commanded to relieve, but he was sent to a woman, who belonged to a foreign nation, Zidon. (1Kg 17:9) In like manner, Elisha healed no lepers among his countrymen, but he healed Naaman, a Syrian. (2Kg 5:10)
…we have no right to prescribe any rule to God in disposing his benefits, so as to prevent him from rejecting those who hold the highest rank, and conferring honor on the lowest and most contemptible; and that we are not at liberty to oppose him, when he entirely subverts that order, which would have approved itself to our judgment. Our attention is, no doubt, drawn to a contrast between Israel and the heathen nations: but still we ought to hold, that none are chosen, in preference to others, for their own excellence, but that it proceeds rather from the wonderful purpose of God, the height and depth of which, though the reason may be hidden from us, we are bound to acknowledge and adore.
—John Calvin, Commentary on Matthew, Mark, and Luke (Lk 4:25)
Pulling It Together
There she sat, slumped, tired, and wracked with pain. Every time he went to visit her, it was the same. Yet she offered a little smile, sometimes a laugh, often a playful poke at her husband or the pastor. Behind the good nature of this Christian woman was the pain of cancer. Just as this affliction seemed to come out of nowhere, it seemed to have no reason. Why?
It is not fair. There is no answer except that God’s people must still pray and that God is inscrutable. He is not a puppet to be mastered by the demanding prayers of the religious. He heals whom he will heal and for his own reasons. Were it not so, to give one example, Paul might have simply healed Timothy; instead he told him to take some medicine (“a little wine,” 1Tm 5:23) for his “ailments. Too often we simply want what we want, not what God wants. We want pain to disappear and think it absurd when it does not. Wouldn’t God be glorified in my life if I was healed? God desires something more in our lives than the absence of pain. Sometimes he heals too; but in the meanwhile, he used a simple lady, bent with the pain of cancer to teach her family and neighbors how faithful people face the realities life.
© Mark E. Ryman, Daily Reform: Devotions with the Reformers