“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.Now the Syrians on one of their raids had carried off a little girl from the land of Israel, and she worked in the service of Naaman’s wife. She said to her mistress, “Would that my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.” So Naaman went in and told his lord, “Thus and so spoke the girl from the land of Israel.” And the king of Syria said, “Go now, and I will send a letter to the king of Israel.”
So he went, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold, and ten changes of clothing. And he brought the letter to the king of Israel, which read, “When this letter reaches you, know that I have sent to you Naaman my servant, that you may cure him of his leprosy.” And when the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and said, “Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man sends word to me to cure a man of his leprosy? Only consider, and see how he is seeking a quarrel with me.”
But when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, he sent to the king, saying, “Why have you torn your clothes? Let him come now to me, that he may know that there is a prophet in Israel.” So Naaman came with his horses and chariots and stood at the door of Elisha’s house. And Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored, and you shall be clean.” But Naaman was angry and went away, saying, “Behold, I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call upon the name of the LORD his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure the leper. Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?” So he turned and went away in a rage. But his servants came near and said to him, “My father, it is a great word the prophet has spoken to you; will you not do it? Has he actually said to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?” So he went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God, and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.”
(2 Kings 5:1–14 ESV)
Naaman had a problem.
Leprosy is and was a real big problem.
Fortunately, he also knew someone who knew God and believed that God can deal with problems of any size.
Unfortunately, he had a preconceived notion of how God would fix his problem.
He thought his gifts would buy him favor, and he knew the right people.
When his solution and God’s looked nothing alike, he almost rejected what would make him well.
We won’t even comment on his petty complaint that he didn’t even get a visit from the “senior” prophet and had to be ministered to by an assistant…
We are all Naaman.
When afflictions come, we want help.
We want out of the affliction.
We almost always tell God exactly how He should solve our problem and heal our affliction.
This amuses God who knows that if you could have solved the problem on your own, you wouldn’t have prayed about it in the first place…
We think he should give us favor because of what we’ve given to Him…when He gave us everything in the first place.
His ways are not our ways and His solutions rarely come about as we have dictated to Him.
His ways are often an affront to our pride and His answers often demand humility.
Thus, we often would rather live with the affliction then submit to the Lord.
Thus, we miss the true power of God.
I can hear the rest of Naamans thoughts…
“Nobody else had to dance in and out of this stupid river seven times.”
“Why is He making a fool out of me when He could just wave his hand and be done with it?”
I have had some of the same thoughts…
“Why can’t He just heal me?”
“Why can’t I just win the lottery?”
“Why can’t He just maim my enemies?”
“If you would only do this, Lord, all would be well”.
This dialog goes on until I’m exhausted and ready to dip in the river seven times wearing a snazzy fedora and a “Make This Nation Great Again” bumper sticker if need be.
You may be holier and less obstinate than I am…or maybe not.
I’m learning that Gods delays are not necessarily Gods denials.
Sometimes He’s just waiting for you to get in the river.
Make your own application…