Then his servants came near and spoke to him and said, “My father, had the prophet told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, ‘Wash and be clean’?” (2 Kings 5:13)
Naaman was a great man, save for that one little, flesh-eating flaw: leprosy. To cure his leprosy, Naaman’s king gives him a large sum of money and allows him to journey through dangerous borderlands to the king of Israel for healing.
He shows up—kind of a weird day for the king . . . guy just shows up with a note and some cash and asks to be healed from an incurable disease—and the king is distraught. He thinks it is a ploy to start up yet another war. This was all political baiting.
When Elisha hears the king is upset and the reason for his tantrum, he beckons Naaman and tells Naaman that to be healed he must dip himself into the Jordan seven times.
And now it is Naaman’s turn to be upset. He came all this way, and for what? Some nonsensical solution that would only make him look a fool! He’s mad about all the trouble just to get some bogus, half-minded advice.
So he vents. He airs his frustration and his servants break-in on his fuming to bring the wisdom: “Um, isn’t this great news? I mean, all you have to do is dip in the river! Easy! He didn’t ask for your right hand or for you to race across the world or for a bunch of money. I mean, what were you hoping for exactly? Wouldn’t you have gone to great lengths to cure this thing, and now, low and behold, you don’t have to! It is easy!”
This, of course, is great news.
And it is news I need to remind myself of daily, especially when it comes to prayer.
“Does anyone among you need help? Is anyone sick? He should pray.” The Book of James says that. Elsewhere, the Bible says we should pray when we have needs but also when we have wants. We should pray to learn more about God; we should pray when feel anxious; we should pray when things in life aren’t well. The answer for us is so easy—even easier than plunging into a muddy river seven times.
And yet, it is almost too easy, at least for me it is. I want some loftier, more tangible solution . . . can we make it just a tad harder? Or can I add to this: pray and _________? That would make me feel a whole lot better.
Or, like Naaman, I’ll get mad. Pray!? I’ve been through so much . . . give me something REAL to do not this bogus, half-minded advice!
And it shows my heart and my pride and the weakness of my faith. God gives me easy access to Him. When leprosy attacks my heart and my mind in all its nuanced ways, God gives me an easy solution. He takes my complicated life issues and gives me simple, grace-filled ways to deal with them.
I want some grandiose, complex action plan, and He just sighs and lovingly gives me Himself.
Naaman eventually humbled himself, listened to the prophet, and was healed of his leprosy.
Might we all do the same, heed God’s wisdom for us, and take hold of the easy healing, the power, and the guidance that we have in prayer.