“But Naaman was wroth, and went away, and said, Behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the Lord his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper. Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? may I not wash in them, and be clean? So he turned and went away in a rage.” (2 Kings 5:11-12, KJV)
When I read this, I shook my head and laughed. Naaman is ridiculous. A man of God–the prophet Elisha–has just given him clear direction. All he has to do is follow it.
Obey and get the healing, the restoration.
But Naaman throws a fit because this isn’t the way it was supposed to happen. Elisha just wants him to waltz over to the river Jordan and wash seven times? That’s it? Where’s the glitz and glamour of an almighty God in that?
His healing doesn’t look the way he thought it would, the way he thought it should. And so he does what any grown man would do after they’ve just been given the key to completely healing their lesion-ridden body: he storms off.
And it’s all fun and games until I realize that Naaman and I have a lot in common.
I’m not a leper, but I’m plagued with all kinds of heart sickness–the result of sin and my own clumsy humanity. And just like Naaman, I bring my expectations and feel completely disoriented when God takes a detour from my imagination.
Too often, I feel like I’m laying across an operating table with the assumption that God will simply scan my heart with His all-knowingness and fix it. Fix me. I want it complete and whole and as painless as possible, but I want it big.
I believe the lie that bigger really is better, that simplicity is boring and slow and nothing to write home about. And don’t I deserve something to write home about?
Pride is ugly. Naaman and I have it in spades, tucked into our plagued hearts. We want God to show up with fireworks and megaphones. Instead, He’s starlight and whispers–lasting and intimate and powerful still.
Naaman eventually got over himself and obeyed. And miracle of miracles, God healed him. No parades. No media. Just a man and God, doing the simple and beautiful and incredibly tough work of healing what is broken and learning to trust the Healer.
May the same be said of me. May the cracks of my soul and the wounds of my spirit be made whole in the hands of my Redeemer. And may I have the faith to trust Him when the healing doesn’t look the way I want it to.