The story of Naaman in 2 Kings 5 is timeless in one crucial sense. Even though we are separated from him by thousands of years and significant differences in culture and language, the way Naaman responded to Elisha’s command to wash in the Jordan River is painfully familiar. Why not just wave your hand over me and heal me from leprosy? Why not send me to a cleaner river if it has to be that way?
Oh, is this life with the Christian God! He is always asking us to do things that do not make sense on their face. He always has. Why did they have to march around Jericho seven times first? Why did Gideon have to reduce his army from 32,000 to 300 when facing an army bigger than his from the start? And why did Jesus tell people he healed to NOT tell others about him?
Now, all of these things have reasonable explanations.
Some you can find in the Bible while others are harder. I am not implying otherwise. I am saying clearly, however, that the kingdom of God to fallen humanity is inside-out, upside down, totally backward, countercultural and counterintuitive. We read a holy book that says things like “to save your life is to lose it” and “my gains are losses” and “the first will be last”.
This book says that those who are mourned are blessed. It commands you to love your enemies. It tells stories of a priest and Levi leaving a brother to die on the side of the road while the hated half-breed Samaritan helps out.
And often we have no idea at first, or even for a long time, why God is doing what he is doing. But he always does. And some days, that is all I have. And as days turn into weeks, it forces my faith to expand. The only other option that I am tempted with is bitterness. But Naaman leads me away from that. As do Gideon and Jesus. I need them so badly in 2020. Especially right now.
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