I was reading about Naaman this week. He’s a guy you’ll meet in 2 Kings Chapter 5. He had it all: commander of the king’s army, wealth, highly revered…and leprosy. He desired to give that last one up – he wanted healing.
Through his wife’s servant, Naaman hears about Elisha, the prophet of God. Hope begins in him. Here, Naaman believes that maybe, just maybe, he can be healed. And he begins the process of seeking that healing. It’s also here where his problems begin.
See, we all have desires in our lives. To be used. To be healed. To be relieved from that addiction. There are so, so many things that God can do in our lives. And He’s always got a plan (remember Jeremiah 29:11). But that plan involves a process, and it’s His process, not ours.
Now, Naaman puts it in his head how his healing will go. He’ll pay off the King of Israel –where Elisha lives–then Elisha will lay hands on him and BAM…he’ll be healed. Then he'll return home and continue on with his life.
Hmm…have you ever done that? Gone off seeking God and telling Him how He’ll answer you? Maybe not intentionally, but think about it. Are you running after something you desperately desire with a picture in your mind of how He’s going to bring it into your life? What happens when God meets you, but His picture is different?
Let’s look back at Naaman.
Naaman approached the king, but it did nothing. He goes on to Elisha, but when he gets there, Elisha doesn’t exactly lay hands on him. No, Elisha tells him to go bath in the Jordan-- seven times--then he’ll be healed.
Umm…the Jordan? That muddy river? Not only is his healing not instantaneous, not only must he work for it, but in a muddy river? When there are so many other clean rivers Elisha could have picked? Yeah, Naaman isn’t exactly thrilled. He stalks off; upset and unwilling to go through the very process that will bring him the healing he sought.
And that’s where we can mirror Naaman. We have these desires for God to work in our lives, but we want Him to do all the work. We don’t want the process. Or, maybe we don’t want the process if it involves getting in some muddy water. Ooohh…think about that. Naaman’s servant even calls him out on it, saying, “If the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it?” (vs. 13)
See, getting to where we desire won’t always look like we hoped it would. There’s a process. It involves work on our part, and sometimes hard, muddied-up work. But it’s in that muck, mire and sweat that we are transformed. Our faith grows. We develop character. We find God’s strength in us, and when we come out we know it was His hands that changed us, not ours.
Naaman finally did step into the waters, and he received his healing. But more important than his clean skin, Naaman found God and his life was radically changed.
Don’t shy away from the process. Don’t make a picture of what you think it should look like and throw a fit when God’s picture is different. Just seek God and be willing to follow wherever He calls you. Even if you wind up in the mud.