Thursday, March 12, 2015

Some Great Thing

Image result for naaman
Here is a quick summary of the story of Naaman in the Old Testament (2 Kings 5:1-14): Naaman was the captain of the Syrian army, enemies to Israel. Pretty powerful guy. He suffered from leprosy, and was therefore slowly decaying. He sought out the prophet Elisha to be healed, and Elisha counseled him to bathe in the Jordan River seven times. Naaman was not happy with this counsel, probably for a variety of reasons, and "went away in a rage." A wise servant told him this:
My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean?
Naaman humbled himself, washed, and was healed.
So many great things to consider in this story, from the goodness of God, the role of prophets, the humility of Naaman, to the confidence of his servant. Read it yourselves and you'll see. 
This passage of scripture came up in my church class a few weeks ago, and we discussed application to our own life. As we did so, it occurred to me that I had been neglecting small things while searching out great things in order to help me through a trial. I really related to Naaman.
As Naaman's servant suggested, Naaman probably was prepared to do almost anything to rid himself of his leprosy, even some great thing. So why should a simple solution upset him? (At its root is pride, I think, but that isn't what I want to get into.) From my perspective, I can see him having thoughts like these (because I have had similar thoughts myself):
I've washed a billion times! Before, during, and after getting leprosy! What difference would washing here, now, make?
My problem is way, way too big to be solved with something so simple.
Professionals (doctors, leeches, healers, whatever they would have been called) have come with better methods than this!
And so on. In the end, of course, Naaman did the simple thing and was healed. So what are simple things that I should be doing? Praying, studying scripture, obeying God's prophets, attending church meetings. Why should those things work for overcoming a trial, especially since I did them before and continue to do them during the trial? The most simple answer is because God has asked that I do them. Done in faith and humility, compliance with God's will brings His blessings. That is what healed Naaman. It certainly wasn't seven more baths. He did what God directed him to do, through the voice of a prophet, and received the sought-for blessing.
--Who bathes at least seven times a week, (almost) always.

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