"Why are we sitting here waiting until we die?"
The question caught me off guard. I stared at my friend as he waved his deformed hands in the air. Sunken eyes flashed as he stared into my face.
"The famine is everywhere! If we go into the city, we die. If we stay here, we die. Who cares what happens to people like us?"
Us. Through no one spoke the word, it hung in the air like the scent of a decaying carcass. Lepers. Unclean, dying lepers. The very words seemed vile.
I stared at my three friends. Ears, fingers, toes...they were slowly being eaten away by an invisible enemy. Leprosy. An unconquerable foe.
But it was worse than that. Vacant eyes stared into nothingness. Empty stomach refused to growl, knowing that there would be no response. Hunger gnawed as painfully as the leprosy. Threatening doom hung over our heads.
"The enemies will kill us if we try to leave." My other friend said, his voice breaking. He rubbed his last thumb over the stub of his hand. "But we'll die either way."
The words should have sent a chill down my spine. Instead I blinked. What did it matter? We slowly pulled ourselves to our feet. Better to die a quick death by the sword than a long, foreboding starvation.
The enemy camp loomed over us as we stumbled forward. Dark. Dangerous. Rough tents billowed in the early morning wind. They were like fingers, reaching out to squeeze the life out of our lungs. I shivered but pressed on.
A light hand touched my cloak. I cut off a scream as I recognized one of my companions. His voice dropped as he hissed in my ear, "Where are they?"
We froze, standing in perfect silence. Not a cricket chirped. Bleak silence hung in the air. Like icicles, they seemed to dangle above us, eager to fall and wreak havoc at the least of disturbances. I held my breath.
My friend took one tentative step forward than another. Pushing his shoulders back, he shoved open the flap of a tent.
The entire camp was deserted.
A smile broke out onto my face. I rushed into tent after tent, throwing silver and gold coins and precious stones in the air. I found one table loaded with a meal of my dreams. Grapes, figs, raisins, breads...it was too much to take in. I laughed as my friends slapped each other's backs, happy chatter ringing through the air. We had hope! The famine was gone!
I froze, a grape half way to my mouth. "What are we doing?" I looked down at the grape and dropped it back onto a plate.
"What?" My friends lowered deformed hands to stare at me. The joy that radiated in their faces froze, replaced by fear.
"We are doing wrong!" My eyes opened wide. "This day is a day of good news, and we remain silent!" I motioned to the nearby city. "They starve while we rejoice and feast?"
Silence filled the tent. The same thoughts that plagued my mind raged in theirs. Why would we spread good news to the ones who cast us out of the city? The ones who mocked us because of our disease? The ones who fed us scraps of food so we wouldn't clutter the streets with our dead bodies? Why would we care for them?
I turned away. "Do what you will, but I am going to share this good news." The dust swirled under my feet as I stumbled back. Away from the feast. Away from the treasure. It beckoned to me, calling my name. But no. I had a greater calling. My pace quickened.
"Wait!" Three lumbering figures followed, grins spreading across their faces. "We will spread this good news!"
Together we shuffled towards the city. Our backs were clothed with rags, but happiness filled our soul. Our faces were calloused and distorted, but smiles creased them. Our stomachs still churned in expectation of a future feast, but our hearts were full.
We were going to bring hope to the hopeless. This was joy. True joy.
As I read 2 Kings 7 today, I noticed this unusual passage. Four lepers – despised, mocked, abandoned – rescued Samaria by discovering a treasure too good to keep to themselves. They shared the good news with the people who avoided them, stared at them, and exiled them from the city. Through miraculous circumstances, God selected four suffering lepers to deliver an entire city.
In last month's post, Their Desperate Plea, I shared my heart on the topic of witnessing. But now I want to hear from you.
We, like the lepers of 2 Kings, have a choice to make. We can spread this news of deliverance to the world or we can sit back and feast on the glory alone. We can fill out stomachs or we can give to the hungry. What have you decided?
Sharing your faith is one amazing benefit of being a Christian. Sadly, we seem to see it as a daunting task or heavy burden. As Christians, I want to know your thoughts. Let us encourage one another to pursue a deeper relationship with our Savior while we share His love with the outside world.
Let's get conversation rolling, shall we?
Is there something keeping you from giving the Good News to starving soul? Perhaps fear of rejection keeps your tongue tied from speaking Truth? Or perhaps you don't see any opportunities to make a difference in the lives of people around you?
Have you ever shared your faith? What were/are some of the struggles you faced? How did you feel afterwards?
I encourage you not only to share stories and struggles from your own life but also to read and comment on those of fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Let's get to know one another as we encourage and uplift each other in this noble goal.
And if you haven't accepted Jesus into your heart, I still would love to hear from you! Has anyone shared their faith with you?