Worth the Trouble


2 Kings 5:1-17

What a bizarre story! A top-gun army commander named Naaman falls ill with leprosy and a slave girl suggests he travel into enemy territory for a cure. So Namaan heads off loaded down with gold and silver for the enemy and ticks off the king when he arrives. Then Namaan gets connected with a prophet whose cure is nothing more than washing in a river. 

Seriously?! Naaman is enraged and resists the suggestion, saying it’s not rational. He could’ve at least washed in the better rivers back home. Why did he have to go to all that trouble to come to a foreign river?

None of these events make a lick of sense; none of the healing process for Naaman is simple or direct. It seems like a lot of steps, too many, in my opinion. Inefficient.  A whole lot of wasted time and unnecessary trouble. But it worked. He was healed, leprosy gone. 

More important than his physical healing, Naaman was introduced to a God who offers spiritual healing. Amidst his poly-theistic culture and background, Naaman’s eyes were opened to the one true God. Naaman sees the power of the God of Israel and declares, "for your servant will never again make burnt offerings and sacrifices to any other god but the Lord" (vs. 17). Naaman gains not only clean skin, but open eyes and a committed heart. Namaan pledges himself to God. All the trouble was worth it!

Through the extra steps that seemed like wasted time and energy there was something bigger going on the whole time. God was leading Naaman to light, truth, love. God had a perspective that Naaman didn’t. If the steps taken for his healing had all made sense to Naaman on human terms perhaps he would have missed the ultimate message. Perhaps he would have missed God.

Don’t we have a lot of things going on around us that don’t make sense? I certainly don’t get what’s happening now with COVID. Why are people losing jobs? What will happen next? Will it all be worth it, the changes and uncertainty God is leading us through? I’m anxious and asking God these questions myself. Yet I keep coming back to the fact that God is working more than I can ever imagine, and that His lens is much wider than my own. Like He was doing with Naaman God is leading me along paths to further open my eyes and capture my heart.

God, when there are things going on that I cannot understand, things that seem like such a waste, help me remember your perspective is bigger than mine. Your ways are not my own, and your thoughts are higher than mine. You see the whole picture and are working for bigger and better purposes than I can imagine. Extravagance is never efficient or cost-effective. God, thank you that your grace is extravagant. Amen. 

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