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Friends in Christ Weekly Message
July 5, 2001

Elisha sent someone outside to say to him, "Go wash seven times in the Jordan River. Then you'll be completely cured."
     But Naaman stormed off, grumbling, "Why couldn't he come out and talk to me? I thought for sure he would stand in front of me and pray to the Lord his God, then wave his hand over my skin and cure me. What about the Abana River or the Pharpar River? Those rivers in Damascus are just as good as any river in Israel. I could have washed in them and been cured."
     His servants went over to him and said, "Sir, if the prophet had told you to do something difficult, you would have done it. So why don't you do what he said? Go wash and be cured."
     Naaman walked down to the Jordan; he waded out into the water and stooped down in it seven times, just as Elisha had told him. Right away, he was cured, and his skin became as smooth as a child's.

2 Kings 5:10-14 (CEV*)

I admit to chuckling on reading this. It's not that Naaman is particularly funny. It's that the way he behaved is so typical of us humans. It was a chuckle of recognition.

We are so tempted to argue with what the Lord asks us to do. As if somehow our human rationality was superior to the wisdom of God! When we really think about it, we realize the stupidity of thinking we know better than God.

Naaman also illustrates the way we expect something particular, and when God acts differently than we expect, we have a hard time accepting it. I know that God often surprises me. I'm trying to learn to accept these surprises as God's gifts to me - which they are.

The story also illustrates the mercy of God. Naaman storms off, grumbling at the way God has responded and arguing with the message of God. But when he, probably still grumpy, finally did what he was asked to do, God still blessed him and made him clean.

What an encouraging story! Despite our grumbling and arguing with God's wisdom, God will still respond to us if we finally do what we are told, even when our attitude towards it may not be the best.

I thank God for His patience with me; His willingness to forgive my failings and bless me anyway. Praise the Lord!

Bill Samuel

* Contemporary English Version ©1995 American Bible Society.

©2001 Friends in Christ, Inc.

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Document last modified on Saturday, 27-Dec-2003 11:58:13 EST