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walking by faith, not by sight...

"So Naaman came with his horses and his chariots and stood at the door of Elisha's house. Then Elisha sent him a messenger, who said, "Go wash seven times in the Jordan and your flesh will be restored and you will be clean." But Naaman got angry and left saying, "I was telling myself; He will surely come out, stand and call on the name of Yahweh his God, and will wave his hand over the spot and cure the skin disease..." So he turned and left in a rage." 2 Kings 5:9-14

Naaman...herein was a "great man and highly respected", a "valiant warrior", a leper (2 Kings 5:1). Nothing seemed to be more feared or dreaded than leprosy in Biblical times. In fact, it is mentioned 55 times in the Old Testament and 13 times in the New Testament. People were shunned, deemed unclean, and an outcast of society. For a man of such high stature, this would have been devastating and Naaman's desperation for healing would have been sincere and strong.

But...he wanted it his way. His pride became his weakness. He believed the message should have come straight from Elisha and for the healing to be done immediately, in his presence, as if a fanfare (that I am sure he was accustomed to in his role) was imminent. When told to dip seven times, he reduced the Jordan river to an inferior river compared to the rivers in his own land, turns, and leaves in a rage. His focus seemed to shift in the midst of his pride, not for ultimate healing, but on the process of how that healing should occur. How incredibly heartbreaking that he was willing to risk being healed, because of his own set out expectations.

The encouragement and humility would come from an unlikely source, his servants, those of lowly worth in the wrung of society, those who generally had no stature or respect to voice opinions. Yet, here they were, being used by God to bring about healing...a beautiful picture of Jesus who was coming, who would do the same. Naaman chose to go down after the chastisement of his servants and dip seven times - a beautiful number of perfection in the Bible - and would come up fully restored. What's even more special is it says that he became clean like a young boy. I can't help but think, in this moment of true humility, God not only restored him physically but spiritually. His sins were forgiven, he was His.

How often do I, do we, look for the big, look for the extravagant, look for quick answers to our problems? We desire clarity in all situations, and until we get all of these things, we stand still. We put false expectations on those around us and on ourselves...never once giving thought to the beautiful journey He has set out for us, and never once remembering that faith is not only believing the Lord, it is following Him. I cannot recall exactly how many times I have seen myself in this very story and oh how many times I have cried endlessly knowing that I too have been in situations where there is no faith to be found in myself...I don't hear from God, I don't want to do the work, I don't want to persevere...I feel forgotten, I feel turmoil, I feel lost, I feel swelled up with pride...but then a whisper, and I remember, I am loved through it all. Ultimately, the healing has and continues to occur in each and every situation because I have learned to appreciate the journey while anticipating the end.

"For we walk by faith, not by sight." 2 Corinthians 5:7


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