“Then Naaman went with his horses and chariot, and he 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 to you, and you shall be clean.’ But Naaman became furious, and went away and said, ‘Indeed, I said to myself, “He will surely come out to me, and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place, and heal the leprosy.” Are not the Abanah and the 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” (2 Kings 5:9-12).
During the reign of Jehoram, the son of Ahab, king of Israel (2 Kings 3:1-3), God did many wonderful miracles through his prophet Elisha. Elisha had become a great prophet of God after his mentor Elijah was taken up to heaven in a flaming chariot (2 Kings 2:11). One of the great miracles Elisha did through God’s power was the healing of Naaman.
Naaman was commander of the Syrian army. He was a great and honorable man. The Lord worked through Naaman, even though Naaman did not realize this, to give victory to Syria. But, Naaman was a leper (2 Kings 5:1). A servant girl of Naaman, who was from the land of Israel, told Naaman’s wife about Elisha and how she believed Elisha could heal her master of leprosy (2 Kings 5:2-4).
As the opening verses above indicate, Naaman goes to Elisha’s house to be healed. He expects Elisha to come out, wave his hands, and call on the name of the Lord God. But Elisha doesn’t do this. In fact, Elisha doesn’t come out at all, but sends a messenger to Naaman. This messenger tells Naaman to go wash in the Jordan River seven times. The messenger tells Naaman if he will do this his flesh will be restored and he will be cleansed of his leprosy (2 Kings 5:9-10).
Naaman can’t believe this! This is not what he expected. He can’t believe he left Syria and came all the way down to Elisha’s house just to be stood up by Elisha who doesn’t even come out to meet him! He doesn’t understand why he could not have washed in one of the rivers back home. He is filled with rage and gets ready to leave (2 Kings 5:11-12). However, his servants persuade him to do as the man of God has said. Naaman does so and is cleansed of his leprosy (2 Kings 5:13-14). Naaman humbles himself, thanks the man of God, strives to follow after the one true living God, and returns to land of Syria (2 Kings 5:15-19).
As I read this, I think, “Do I ever get upset because God doesn’t meet my expectations of Him?” In reference to the things which the Bible says God has done (e.g. the virgin birth of Christ, creating the world in 7 days, etc.), do I find it challenging to accept what the Bible says when the “scientific community” rejects it? Regarding God’s commandments, do I have difficulty following those commands of God (e.g. baptism or God’s laws on marriage, divorce and remarriage) that don’t “make sense” to me? When I pray, do I expect God to answer my prayers a certain way; and, when He doesn’t answer my prayers my way, do I become disappointed with Him?
Living by faith means I trust fully in God that He will answer my prayers and direct my paths in a way that He knows is best for me. It means following His commandments when, like Naaman, they may make no sense to me. Today, I will strive to trust fully in God as he leads me on the journey of life!
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).