This morning I find myself reading the story of when Naaman was healed of leprosy in 2 Kings 5. It’s been years since I’ve read this account of a commander who seeks healing from the Lord. Do you know it?
If you remember, Naaman goes to the prophet Elisha, but Elisha merely sends a messenger to Naaman to announce something rather common and ordinary. The messenger tells Naaman, “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.”
What a joy! What an incredible promise! Restoration! Healing! Cleansing!
But no. Naaman leaves angry.
He’s so disappointed in this boring remedy.
He wants Elisha to call on the name of the Lord in a grand display of power and authority. He wants Elisha to “wave his hand over the spot and cure [him].” Scripture says that the messenger’s words of merely washing in the Jordan causes “rage” within Naaman. His servants, however, tell him something wonderful:
“If the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you ‘Wash and be cleansed’!”
So Naaman comes to his senses and does this ordinary act of washing. He merely washes seven times in the Jordan. He’s healed. He’s restored. His flesh “became clean like that of a young boy.”
I think about how impossible it was for Naaman to accept God’s ordinary and boring instructions. Oh, I know what that feels like! But these simple instructions overflowed with the power and authority of the Lord. They were the means of healing, but Naaman couldn’t see it. He was just disappointed in God.
He thought that God worked in grand, showy displays. Naaman thought, perhaps, that if God had asked him to do something really hard, really important, or really unique that surely that must be how God worked.
But it wasn’t. The supernatural moment came through something ordinary. As I layer up ordinary days of walking children to school, preparing after school snacks, and loving my neighbors within this mile, I remember the power and presence of God that come about in simple, everyday moments.
If I’m disappointed because I wanted some other kind of grand evidence of God’s work in my life, I remember Naaman and God’s simple instructions.