The Bible is filled with stories of things that made no natural sense.
Yet, when things were done at the Direction of God, they turned out to be the stuff of miracles.
Naaman was an army commander, who was considered a great man. He had defeated many in battle, but he could not conquer the leprosy that overtook his body.
Through a series of twists and turns, he ended up with the prophet, Elisha, who gave him The Word from God.
“Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.”
“Naaman went away angry and said, ‘I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy.
‘Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?’ So he turned and went off in a rage.”
2 Kings 5:10-12
Now before we find too much fault with Naaman, let’s stop and consider whether we have ever been in his shoes.
Many times in my life, when I have been in a jam, I knew how God could fix things. In fact, my prayers centered around what I wanted God to do to bring an immediate solution to my problem.
If it was a really big problem, I rounded up some “prayer partners” to “stand in agreement” with me. Sometimes my partners would add in some extra instructions for God to be sure He understood.
Then we “named and claimed” what we wanted and sealed the deal by saying “in Jesus’ Name.” We then waited expectantly for an immediate response from God.
If an immediate response was not forthcoming, we upped the ante and “prayed harder.” Sometimes I threw in what things I promised to do if only God would fix things as I wanted.
When He did not answer as I expected, I, like Naaman, was not happy. I whined. I reviewed my process. If I had followed what I believed to be the proper protocol, then I determined it must be God Who was the problem.
After a time of sulking, I gradually slid into “it’s just my cross to bear.” Of course, my testimony was, “See what I have to put up with when God won’t come through.”
Jesus Himself prayed in The Garden for the cup of suffering to pass from Him. He prayed passionately … so passionately blood fell from Him like sweat.
He asked His Disciples to be His Prayer Partners. They were not much help.
Jesus certainly prayed in His Name.
But Jesus also prayed in total submission to God’s Will.
“My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from Me. Yet not as I will, but as You will.”
When I pray, I don’t want to even consider that what I am asking (or demanding) is not possible! Besides my just wanting it done, to say, “if it is possible” sounds like a lack of faith.
Is it a lack of faith or a lack of submission to God?
And after further prayer, when there was no indication The Plan was going to change, Jesus added, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may Your Will be done.”
And in that moment, Jesus saw beyond the impending suffering to The Joy, not only His Own Joy, but The Collective Joy of the whole universe, who was going to receive His Gift.
“For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
And as for Naaman, when he finally bowed to God’s Will, he received a Life far beyond what he had before.
He dipped, not just once, but seven times in the Jordan River. I suspect with each dip, he felt more and more confident.
I imagine him being so overcome with Joy in The Presence of The Lord that he flipped and flopped around in the water, and forgot he had leprosy. And in fact, he could forget because he no longer had it.
“His flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.”
2 Kings 5:14
Whatever you are going through right now, know God has a Plan for you.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
But also know what else God says about His Plans.
“For My Thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My Ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My Ways higher than your ways and My Thoughts than your thoughts.”
So don’t be surprised when God comes up with a much better Plan than you could have ever imagined!