For the last week, I have had the amazing privilege of visiting Israel. It is definitely one of those experiences that is difficult to put into words. It hardly seems real that I actually was on the Sea of Galilee and walked in the city of David. Over the next few weeks, I hope to share with you some of the defining moments of my journey. My hope is that for those who have not walked this land that the Lord can encourage you through this blog.
On December 30th, one of our stops was the Jordan River. This body of water, much narrower than I imagined, is the location of many significant biblical events including the baptism of Jesus, God leading Joshua and the Israelites through the Jordan with the arc and instructing them to take 12 stones from the water and build a memorial, and the account of Naaman (2 Kings 5) being instructed to wash in the Jordan by Elisha, if he wanted to be made clean from leprosy. In modern times, it is now a beautiful stop for many visitors who want to be baptized. With great excitement and frigidness, I had the privilege of baptizing a sweet friend from Highpoint.
As I journaled through the passage of Elisha and Naaman in my priority time, I was struck by the relevance of the passage as we begin 2014. Naaman was described as a mighty man of valor, the commander of the Syrian army, and one with high favor. Despite his prestigious resume, he was also a leper. This powerful man had his act together, yet had a need that he could not meet himself. Isn’t that how most of us would view ourselves? As Americans, we take pride in our success and the lives that we live, but there is usually some area of our life that leaves us aware of our true powerlessness. We try to get and keep our act together, but rarely is there a season without a place of brokenness that we are desperate for help.
God uses the voice of a child, an Israeli girl that he had captured and made his servant, to give Naaman the direction he needed in order to be healed. How ironic that the very one that he had captured was the voice God chose to use to bring him hope. Yet, when Naaman goes before Elisha desiring to be healed, Naaman walks away angry. Naaman expected to immediately be healed, not to have to go wash in the river Jordan seven times. Naaman could not grasp what was so special about the water of the Jordan. What God required in faith, Naaman decided to intellectualize.
How many times in our lives do we follow Naaman’s path? I encourage you as you set foot into 2014 to examine the areas where you need to see the Lord work. Like in Naaman’s case, God may choose to require something of you to bring the healing you desire. I urge you, do not refuse to participate. God may choose to answer your prayer in a way that does not meet your expectations. I challenge you to trust the One you are seeking for help. Be quick to obey and slow to doubt.