Four lepers had been living outside the city gate of Samaria during a terrible military siege. One day they said to each other:
"What are we doing sitting here at death's door? If we enter the famine-struck city we'll die; if we stay here we'll die. So let's take our chances in the camp of Aram and throw ourselves on their mercy. If they receive us we'll live, if they kill us we'll die. We've got nothing to lose." 2 Kings 7:3
So after sunset the diseased men set out for the enemy camp. When they arrived, to their great surprise, not a single enemy soldier was there. God had caused the enemies to hear the sound of horses and a great army on the march at sunset. They had panicked and ran for their lives in the dark, abandoning their tents, horses, donkeys, gold, food and possessions. The four amazed lepers filled their hungry stomachs with food, but then remembered the people of the city and went back to tell them the good news. And so, within the course of a few hours, the fortunes of that city were turned right side up. The same people that had awakened to starvation and despair, went to sleep with full stomachs and peace.
These four men had no good options, and yet they decided to DO something. They wouldn’t wait around for death. At times we think that standing still involves no risk, but we’re wrong. Every single minute that passes us by, is a missed opportunity. Standing still involves more risk than anything else, and ensures that we are going to lose. Had the lepers done nothing that day, they would have certainly died, along with the rest of the city of Samaria.
The lepers had the wisdom to stop analyzing their situation. Analyzing is good, but too much paralyzes us. Should we turn left or right? Go forward or stay where we are? Should we speak up or wait for a better opportunity? These are all good questions, but at some point we need to do something about our situation. Never wait for the "perfect" opportunity - it will never come.
They were the most despised inhabitants of that city. Outcasts. The general consensus was probably that it would be better for them to die. No one would ever have thought that they would be the heroes of the day, but they were. We can never make the mistake of thinking that we're not good enough to achieve our dreams, or resolve our problems. May times solutions come from the most unlikely people and places.
“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.” 2 Cor 4:7
Life does not always involve nice, clear choices, and yet we cannot allow ourselves to be paralyzed. We can’t allow fear to rule. The path to change involves: 1. Acting even when a clear choice is not available, 2. Taking calculated risks with the certainty that God will do what we cannot. When we act, we show faith.
We can also say: When we act, God acts. Is it a coincidence that God caused the enemies to run for their lives at exactly the same time of day that the lepers set off for their camp? Just after sunset. Everything is possible for him who believes, but our belief is proven by our actions, not our words.
EXERCISE: This week we need to act on what we want to change. Think of things you can do, big and small, and have the certainty that as you act, God will also act. If your choices are not clear, pray for guidance and then chose what seems to be the best and do it. Making the wrong choice and acting on it is better than doing nothing. At least you’re showing God the courage and determination to act. He will be forced to respond.