How to Achieve Greatness Despite Obstacles in Your Life
“Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master and in high favor, because by him the Lord had given victory to Syria. He was a mighty man of valor, but he was a leper. (2 Kings 5:1 ESV)”
The main character in this story is Naaman, Commander of the Syrian Army. His name, “Naaman,” means “Pleasantness.” Yet, his life up to this point had not been pleasant. Like many of you, he had some important and significant things going well for him, but the most important part of his life caused him great anguish and misery.
First, Naaman had accomplished something great and unique in his life. He had not allowed his handicap, his disease to keep him from becoming a mighty man of valor in his country. He had climbed the military ranks and achieved the status of Commanding General of all the Armies of the King of Syria.
Second, Naaman had gained the influence and favor of the people with whom he served. His soldiers loved him; his king loved him; his wife loved him. Naaman, though a commander in the Army had overcome many struggles to reach this point because of his unfortunate circumstances.
Naaman was a gentle soul; he was a pleasant man most of the time. However, one subject caused Naaman to transform from a pleasant man to a bitter man. Have you ever been in a situation where you could laugh, play, enjoy your friends, but when a certain subject came up, it caused you great bitterness?
Naaman would be having a pleasant day and doing well until his issue kept him from smiling. He would do well until his issue kept him from enjoying the company of friends and loved ones. Naaman, you see was a leper.
Leprosy was a skin disease that was often contagious, but always a cause for segregation and separation. A disease that kept its victims living in isolation and in places where those who were well could make fun of them and be cruel to them.
They were the victims of childhood pranks that caused utter frustration. It was akin to a child in this city with cerebral palsy, a child who is mentally retarded, or a child who has suffered a stroke that left them disfigured or paralyzed. Children and adults could be cruel to the lepers, just as children and adults can be cruel today.
Finally, Naaman decided that he would not allow his leprosy to keep him from self-accomplishment. Therefore, he learned and tested his battle skills, fine tuned his command presence, and perfected his ability to strategize and defeat the enemy. Naaman became a great soldier, despite his leprous condition. Hallelujah!
Therefore, whatever issues you are dealing with, you need to follow the example of Naaman and rise above it to achieve greatness in your lifetime. You should refuse to allow your issue to conquer you. One thing is certain, Naaman did not see himself as a leper; he saw himself as a General – Naaman knew that he was somebody. You can move forward with that same attitude if you will do what Naaman did.