YOU WON’T ALWAYS GET SPECIAL TREATMENT
So Naaman came with his horses and chariots and 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, and you shall be clean.”
But Naaman was angry and went away, saying, “Behold, I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call upon the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure the leper. Are not Abana and 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.
But his servants came near and said to him, “My father, it is a great word the prophet has spoken to you; will you not do it? Has he actually said to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?”
So he went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God, and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.
-2 Kings 5:9-14
Naaman was a commander of the army of Syria. Presumably, he was this macho tough guy—the Bible describes him as “a mighty man of valor”—someone brave who wore his battle scars with pride. Think William Wallace from the movie “Brave Heart.”
Thing is, though, our hero was a leper.
How he got it, the Bible doesn’t really say. But as any man of his stature would be, Naaman must have been desperate for healing, and when he learned that a prophet could help, he probably expected Elisha to do something bombastic and awe-inspiring, because isn’t God the God of wonders?
However, much to the commandant’s dismay, Elisha did no such thing. Instead, he just sent a message to Naaman through a servant to dip his leprous body in the Jordan River. This didn’t sit well with Namaan.
First, he was a bit upset that Elisha didn’t even come out to meet him. Didn’t the prophet know who he was? Second, judging from Naaman’s reaction, the Jordan was probably the least recommended spot to go for a swim, so he refused to do Elisha’s bidding.
Sometimes we’re like Naaman.
We expect grand gestures, fireworks, huge packages, a marching band, or some big ballyhoo when we’re seeking God for something. We get down on our knees and pray with everything that we are, hoping, waiting for God’s “magic” to work things out for us and for Him to say yes to all our requests. But when God a) is silent or b) decides that we first need to stretch our faith muscles a bit more and actually do some work in order for His will to be fulfilled, we stomp around like four-year-olds and sulk and complain how unfair God is.
This, my friends, is what we call entitlement, and it actually is a sin. If Jesus were here today, He’d probably be face-palming all the time. “Are you still so dull? You of little faith,…Do you still not understand?”
So here’s a reality check: Just because we’re called “children of God” and are recipients of His favor doesn’t mean we are entitled to all that we desire. It is only by His grace and goodness that each one of us is alive and well. So really, the least we can do as followers of Christ is to do exactly that–FOLLOW HIM. Do what He commands us, asks us, wants us to do, even if that means having to get down and be covered in mud, eating honey and locusts and living away from civilization, giving up our wealth, our privileges, and getting rid of everything that will make us lose focus on Him. Even if it means attempting the impossible, going in the opposite direction as everyone else, and doing things you never thought you’d have to.
Followers of Christ don’t get special treatment. At least, not in this life.
Hopefully, like Naaman, we have friends that are wise and will encourage us in times of doubt and will convince us to do the right thing because no matter how mature and strong we think we are, we are only human who fall short of God’s glory, selfish and impatient. We like taking matters into our own hands, and we don’t like being inconvenienced.
Like Namaan, maybe we should also learn humility and think of ourselves as we ought, not too highly and not lowly.
When you think about it, all the Lord asks of us is to obey Him. To follow even when we don’t understand. To act on the faith we say we have. We have to do something, not because Jesus’ work on the cross wasn’t enough or because God’s power has somehow become insufficient, but because we need to exercise our faith, not just talk about it. God wants us to trust Him and believe that when we do His will, we will never go wrong. And that we will be saved. Healed. Made new. Just like Naaman was.
So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. Someone will say,
“You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works,
and I will show you my faith by my works.
Written By: Deedee Leones