Thursday, March 1, 2012

unexpected answers

This morning I was reading in 2 Kings 5 where this guy Naaman learns of a profit of God (Elisha) who could heal his leprosy.  Leprosy isn't something you want to continue to have, so he packs up all sorts of fun, expensive things and heads over to the King of Israel.  He asks if he can be healed but the King tears his clothes (he's not having a good day) and cries out thinking that the King of Aram (whom Naaman serves under) is just trying to pick a fight.  Naaman then goes to the household of Elisha (who has heard about all of this and the King's torment) and, rather than talking to him face to face, sends a servant to Naaman who tells him all he must do is wash 7 times in the Jordan and he will be healed. 

Naaman won't have any of that.  He's thinking to himself, "Wash in a river?  Yeah right, like that is going to do any good let alone heal me!"  So he storms away until one of his servants comes up to him and humbly says, "Had the prophet told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it?  How much more then, when he says to you, 'Wash and be clean'?" (v13).  Naaman listens, washes in the Jordan, and what do you know?  He's healed.  He goes back to Elisha and tries to pay him for the service but Elisha will have none of that.

Ok, simple story right?  Kind of fun, short, simple, easy to understand - right?  Wrong. 

I read this and it hit me that we do the same thing Naaman does all the time!  I think our behavior shows itself in a few different ways though.  One way would be that God gives us an answer to a prayer we had and we think "that can't be it, there has to be more" when really, God is simply giving you the answer.  Maybe it's just something you know, or maybe it's as simple as a passage  you read in the Bible but it gives you the answer and you just need to accept it.

Another way may be that the answer is not only simple, but it's not the answer we were looking for.  I think Naaman went to Elisha with grand ideas of hocous-pocous in his mind - maybe some smoke and lasers or even a little bit of dramatic flair brought on by costumes and intense music.  Instead, Elisha sends his servant to Naaman (a captain of the entire army of the King of Aram) and the servant tells Naaman to wash in the river. 

In our own lives, I think we do just what Naaman did.  We come to God expecting something miraculous (not that God doesn't do miracles) but we walk away disappointed when He's clearly given us the answer.  Just because we didn't see a blinding flash of light or something doesn't mean God wasn't there and working! 

Plus, are we willing to look for the unexpected answers to our prayers?  Or are we just excepting God to answer them in one way and, if it doesn't happen that way, we give up and think His answer is no?  We could be missing out on a completely different route to something we desire just becuase we're so focused on ourselves and our way and we miss God's way.

Just something to think about (for myself included!).