2 Kings 5: 9-12
...Naaman went with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house. Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, ‘Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.’
But 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.
Isaiah 55: 8-9
‘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.
Matthew 24: 44
…the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.
Ephesians 3:20 (MSG)
God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.
Yesterday we saw that, as well as being afflicted with leprosy, Naaman also had a serious issue with pride. When he doesn’t get the attention he thinks he deserves from Elisha, he is furious.
Ultimately Naaman was annoyed because he wanted to dictate the terms of the miracle. He was a man used to being in charge and in control and so when his healing didn’t happen in the way he expected, he wants to walk away. Look again at his first 3 words:
“I thought that…”
He had assumptions and presuppositions about how he would be healed. He expected the man of God to wave his hands over him and for something dramatic and instant to happen. Instead he was told to go and dip in the river 7 times. It was too ordinary, too simple and maybe, too public. It didn’t match the image he had in his mind of how this should happen.
Sometimes God will offend our minds to reveal our hearts. He will use people we would never think He could use, do things in a way we can’t imagine He would do them, and both the process and the result might not match our expectations. If we aren’t careful, we too might miss the miracle He wants to do in our lives because the packaging isn’t to our liking or taste.
Occasionally in the Gospels, before healing someone, Jesus would ask them, “What do you want me to do for you?” But what he never asks is, “How do you want me to do it?” We aren’t given the option of dictating the terms of the miracle or the method God uses. God’s sovereign purpose may well override our best laid plans.
At other times the issue we think we need healed of is only one of a number of issues that God is actually wanting to deal with. We maybe want healing in our bodies but first God wants to heal our hearts. We want an external affliction removed but God’s primary goal is to deal with our character. We want an instant miracle but God wants to take us on a process of deeper healing.
Naaman was given instructions which, if followed, would see him completely healed of his leprosy which was eventually going to destroy him. Yet because of his ego and because the miracle doesn’t look like he expected, he’s about to walk away and miss it completely.
Don’t try and control how God shows up in your life. Don’t let your dislike of the method God uses make you miss the miracle that’s right in front of you. Don’t let your need to control everything cause you to forfeit your healing. Just because what God is doing doesn’t match up with the picture in your head of how you thought it should look, don’t walk away.
Remember, when Jesus, the promised Messiah, came to earth, his own people didn’t recognise him. Why? Because they expected a conquering warrior but God sent a vulnerable baby; they thought he would overthrow the Roman oppressors but Jesus taught that people should love their enemies; they assumed he would lead them to a mighty military victory but instead he died a criminal’s death by execution on a cross. Yet, through Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, God did so much more than anyone could ever have imagined or anticipated. Instead of saving one nation from oppression, He provided the opportunity for every human, in every place, in every era of history, to be reconciled to their Creator and become children of God. He still wants to exceed our expectations and assumptions today.
We would love you to join us this Sunday at 9.30 am and 11.30 am. There will also be a family BBQ on Sunday evening at 5.00 pm at the church!