Disappointed With a Word From God

by | Jun 28, 2011 | Purpose & Identity

Naaman’s servants went to him and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!” —2 Kings 5:13

Perhaps you have gone to church or to a Bible study hoping for a word from the Lord, and you have sat there thinking, Well, so far God hasn’t spoken to me. I don’t know why I even came.

Second Kings 5 tells the story of Naaman, who suffered from leprosy. He hears of the famous prophet Elisha through his wife’s little Israelite servant girl. He makes all kinds of arrangements and finally goes to where Elisha is. But Elisha won’t even come out to meet him! Naaman feels insulted. Here he is—a commander and an officer—and Elisha won’t even greet him. Instead, the prophet sends a message (which Naaman doesn’t like at all): “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed” (v. 10).

Naaman goes away angry: “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy” (v. 11). “How dare he insult me? Go to the Jordan and wash seven times?!”

Naaman’s servants persuade him to believe that this really is a word from the Lord. Naaman goes into the Jordan once and comes out just like he was. The second time—still no change. When he goes in a third time, he thinks, Well, I’ll start getting better now. But no. Even after the sixth time, there’s no difference. But on the seventh time, lo and behold, he is healed completely!

It may be that God has given you a word and you don’t like it. You want something else, some other word. Jesus said, “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much” (Luke 16:10). Accept what God has given you, and who knows what will happen in the end?

Excerpted from When God Shows Up (Renew Books, 1998).

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