Naaman's story

I just read a gret devotional from Anabel Gillham very early this morning as I am having a hard time sleeping. Turns out, my restlessness was used by God so that I can re-learn something again. As a Christian, I know full well how my God loves me. In fact, that is something I have never struggled with-- understanding His love and devotion to me is a blessing I greatly cherish daily. But being a stubborn one, the lesson I have always struggled with is obedience. Yes, I am not a doubter of Christ's sovereignty. Most often, it's my inability to obey head on that seems to be my thorn in the flesh. I don't know why...it's like I know in my heart that God is in control, but my mind is another thing... The more I over analyze things, the more I'm paralyzed to just go through it in faith. But early this morning, I am once again reminded by my Lord that if I love Him and believe in Hs power, then what prevents me from obeying?

          Do you sometimes wonder about your level of obedience? You approach the topic sincerely and very logically: "God loves me unconditionally. I believe that with all my heart. I also believe that there isn't anything I can do to make Him love me more or anything that I can do to make Him love me less. What part does my obedience play in His plan for my life when I believe in His unconditional love for me?"

Arrogant Warrior by Anabel G.
  Do you remember the story of Naaman (II Kings 5)? He was highly respected, he was a mighty warrior, he was the commander of King Aram's army, he was a great man in the sight of his master and . . . he was a leper. Nothing had ever come into Naaman's life that he could not handle. Until now.

            Naaman's wife had a little Israeli slave girl who loved enough (I don't know who she loved, but she could not remain silent) to suggest that her master, Naaman, go see a prophet, Elijah. "He could cure him of his leprosy," she said. A suggestion from a mere child? A slave? Yes. When we get desperate, we grab at the slightest hint of hope.

            So Naaman went to Israel and sought out Elijah. The prophet didn't even do the mighty hero the honor of coming to the door: "Gehazi, answer the door, please." Naaman was infuriated!

            "Who does he think he is? Does he know who I am? who I represent?" And when the servant Gehazi gave him Elijah's instructions, telling him to go and dip seven times in the muddy Jordan River, Naaman was even more frustrated. Unthinkable! "They have beautiful rivers back in Syria. Why should I humiliate myself by bathing in this mudhole? I will not!"

            But there was one man in Naaman's group who dared to approach the arrogant warrior--was it love that drove him? respect? "Oh, please, Sir! You are here. Why not at least try what the prophet has told you to do? What do you have to lose?" I wonder how much courage that took? if his heart was thumping and how sweaty his palms were? "All right, all right! I'll try it, but it is utterly and absolutely ridiculous. Ridiculous!"

            Searching the prophet out and telling him the problem was not enough. Hearing the prophet's instructions was painful--it hurt his pride to think of doing something so demeaning. Naaman did not believe, but he was desperate. He did not understand the prophet's remedy, but he was hurting. He merely humbled himself and obeyed, that's all. He obeyed and that obedience brought healing. His life was rerouted--changed forever! 

            And you and me? We must allow God to be our God--we must submit to Him before we can submit to His plan for our life, before we can be all that He has planned for us to be. Obedience paves the way for His way--the only way. His way may be humiliating, embarrassing, something you would never dream of doing, something that seems absolutely ridiculous to you. But I have the courage to say to you, "Oh, please! You are here. Why not at least try what the Lord has told you to do?"

Personal prayer:
Lord, is it my inert stubborness that prevents me from just completely obeying? Or is it my fear of the
unknown and the uncontrollable? But regardless, can you please help me to be courageous enough to follow through and believe that the only part I need to play is to obey You regardless the reasons I see. And Jesus, thank you... Fr not giving up on me that you tirelessly teach me these lessons even if it takes me a longer time to learn. I'msorry if I put You in the wringer all the time. Oh, and nice touch on the story about the walls of Jericho during Micah's devo earlier in the evening. It segued to this lesson perfectly. Oh, Holy Spirit, You never cease to amaze me on how clearly you speak to me.

I love you!

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