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I didn't think God would do it this way

The story of Naaman (2 Kings 5), provides us with plenty of food for thought.  Naaman, you’ll recall, was the commander of the Syrian army.  He was a valiant warrior and a soldier’s soldier.  Everyone, including the king of Syria, held him in the highest regard.  Career, status, prestige, power – he had it all.

 

But Naaman also had leprosy.  It was indifferent to everything he was or possessed and had crept into his camp to steal it all from him.   What was perhaps most difficult to deal with was the fact that there was nothing he could do about his situation.  Leprosy was unlike any foe he had encountered on the field of battle; it was not something he could outflank or launch an attack against.  The man who commanded others was now powerless against the invasion taking place in his own flesh. Hope was in full retreat.

 

Naaman’s servant told him about a man of God named Elisha.  Elisha told Naaman to come and see him.  Naaman and his entourage arrived at Elisha’s house in all of their “horses and chariots” splendor.  Elisha didn’t even bother to come out of his house to see the great general.  Instead, he sent a servant out to tell Naaman to go jump in the lake (actually it was the Jordan River).  It looked to all who were present to be yet another cruel blow to a despairing and now desperate man.  His leprosy remained, he had been humiliated in front of his men, and all he had for the experience was some nonsensical instructions that would certainly bring further embarrassment if followed.

 

You can hear Naaman complaining, can’t you?  This is so different from what I had envisioned.  I expected God to do something more dramatic, something with more emotional emphasis and appeal – like have a group of people jumping up and down and cheering, some inspirational music playing, someone emceeing the event and then after it all reached a crescendo level – Elisha would come out and wave his hand over me and I would be healed.  Instead his servant tells me to go bob up and down in some muddy water.  What kind of sense does that make?

 

The Scripture tells us that God is able to do more than we are able to ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20-21).  What an encouraging and powerful truth!  After all, most of us can imagine some fairly outrageous things and we’re told in this passage that God can better even the best of our dreams.  What is there not to like and get excited about?  And yet, there is a challenging aspect present that in our enthusiasm we might overlook.  In fact, it’s the very thing that Naaman tripped over.  For it is exactly what we cannot imagine that gives us the most difficulty believing and accepting, isn’t it? 

 

It was that way for Naaman.  He couldn’t imagine God doing things the way He did so he couldn’t believe it and didn’t act on it.  Fortunately, he had someone watching his back to rattle his cage and get him moving toward the Jordan.  It was only after the seventh time he broke the surface of the dingy waters that it became clear to him how dangerous of a thing it is to paint God into a corner and think that He has to do something the way we think He should.  How difficult it is to let go of our fears and doubts and believe in what only God Himself is able to imagine. 

 

Isn’t it time we started moving toward the Jordan? 
 
 
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