“This is a day of good news . . .” (7:9)
John Barry’s The Great Influenza tells the story of the worst plague in history. In 1918, influenza killed 100 million people worldwide in 24 weeks, more than AIDS has killed in 24 years. Though Samaria’s situation was different, Barry’s description of modern cities in the grip of tragic circumstances helps us feel some of the horror faced by Israel’s besieged capital.
In the Bible, tragic stories are not merely about the consequences of sin. They are also about the ways God is present in suffering. This story tells of desperate choices made by suffering people and ruthless decisions by arrogant leaders. But rising in the midst of the chaos, like a beacon of hope, is the prophet Elisha. His word comes true in precisely the way he predicted. God’s strength, mediated through him, gives the people hope.
The theme verse above is spoken by four leprous men who realize that they should share the good news of God’s miraculous deliverance. But we do not always experience such miraculous solutions to problems. Life does not neatly tie up every loose end. Tragic situations are not completely resolved to our satisfaction. But we trust, we wait, we hope for the day of good news. We rest in the Savior whose own tragic suffering reveals that God is always with us.
In the midst of tragedy, Father, strengthen our faith.