Monday, July 11, 2022

             II Kings continues with the history of ancient Israel and Judah.  It continues to record the events of the various kings all the way up to Judah’s exile in Babylon.  In II Kings 5, we find the healing story of Naaman who had been afflicted with leprosy.  The Bible says he was a “great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded, because through him the LORD had given victory to Aram.  He was a valiant soldier, but he had leprosy” (II Kings 5:1).  Like anyone suffering from leprosy or another disease, he wanted to be healed and whole again. 
            Naaman went to visit Elisha in hope of receiving the healing he so desired and needed.  We read the following, “Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, ‘Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.’  But Naaman went away angry and said, ‘I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?’ So, he turned and went off in a rage” (II Kings 5:10-12).  Naaman was angry, enraged even, because the Lord was not going to heal him as he had planned or expected.  “Why not this or that,” he muttered to anyone who would listen.  Imagine being on the cusp of healing but just too proud or ornery to receive this miracle!
             He suffered from what we might call “the what about this syndrome.”  At times, we can suffer from this syndrome as well.  It is worse than leprosy.  This syndrome is where we want God to work according to our expectations more than His.  We want God to do what we want Him to do rather than submit ourselves to His plans and purposes. This syndrome is an on-demand approach to life where we expect God to snap things in order according to our wishes and ways.  Naaman wondered “what about this river?”  “Why don’t you just wave your hand and say some words and heal me here and now?”  What about, what about, what about?  This kind of babbling can sound like us too.  God gives us a message to hear or a pathway to follow and we don’t like it so we begin to toss our alternatives that we believe are better.  This battle is essentially the same one we see played out in the Garden of Eden for the first time with the serpent, Adam and Eve challenging and doubting what God had planned.   
            Naaman was given something rather simple to do in order to experience healing.  But this instruction from Elisha moved Naaman out of his comfort zone or the small world where he felt most secure and most in control.  “The what about syndrome” is where we are reluctant to let go and trust God, to give up our control to see where He might lead and take us.  This battle of wills between God and us can be intense.  There are occasions in life where all we can do is let go and trust God’s ways and for God to provide for us.  This letting go could be a change in jobs, a physical move, a career change, a decision about where to attend college, trusting God for healing and looking to the Lord to answer your prayers and questions in His time and by His means. 
            Faith and trust are hard.  They are shaped and formed in the furnaces and trials of life.  Like Peter taught us, we often have to set Christ apart as Lord over situations and battles that we cannot control or win by human power alone (I Peter 3:15).  The good news for Naaman is found in II Kings 5:14, “So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.”  And when Naaman complied with God’s instructions, he was healed, made whole and restored just like the skin of a young child and not a diseased man.  From Naaman’s life, we learn the lessons of trust, faith and obedience.  We have to trust God if we call upon Him.  We have to have faith in God’s answers.  And we have to obey Him and go wherever He takes us.  Maybe today, we’re due for some lessons in trust, faith and obedience.  If we will learn these lessons, the rewards are ours to enjoy.  Remember you can share our worship each day and any time at  Have a great Monday!  

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