“As surely as the LORD lives, whom I serve, I will not accept a thing.” – 2 Kings 5:17
I knew the flu had knocked me down over the last 2 weeks, but I thought I was getting better. The tears of frustration which flow quickly when I feel rundown would say otherwise. Here I sat, with those same tears rolling down my face, as I read 2 Kings 5 for my devotion time. Just before I picked up the Word, I had been trying desperately to figure out how to make money come from a stone. Living on a single income with 4 children has been quite challenging for my husband and I, but over these last few months, it seemed near impossible. I had thought several times about getting a job, but issues, requiring numerous appointments will throw a week into a crazy tailspin at any given time. Getting a job, on a calm week seems like a nice possibility; getting a job on a regular hectic week, seems like suicide! I had left our finances in that pocket marked “faith–God will provide,” yet it appeared that my faith was a little weak this day.
Stepping back from the money, I decided to pick up my daily reading and release the tears as I learned from the teaching in 2 Kings 5. Naaman, the commander of the army of the king of Aram, sought out healing for his leprosy. He was told by a young Israelite slave girl, to go to her country to seek the prophet of God, who lived there and who would be able to heal him. It was the response given to him from Elisha that started my tears. First, Elisha didn’t even come to the door to speak to Naaman and second, his instructions were simple, telling him to dip himself in the Jordan river 7 times and he would be healed. For me, the word was illuminated showing me that God is omnipresent and willing to meet us wherever we are. He was not the God of the Arameans, yet in his gracious and merciful way, the Lord was showing Naaman that he was God of all people. Elisha gave instructions that were not flashy, nor was he claiming he owned the power to heal, instead his words and actions, clearly stated that all healing power belongs to the LORD.
Like my wavering faith, Naaman had a difficult time believing the instructions that he had received would actually heal him. He held a more dramatic view of how he thought this prophets healing was to look like and so, with his expectations not even coming close to being met, he became angry and doubted. He was angry with Elisha’s unwillingness to meet him in person and the basic instructions he had received to go bathe in the dirty Jordan River. I was angry that the effort I was putting in was not translating into change, but instead I was being told to keep tracking. I didn’t feel like there was going to be any blessing placed on our finances, until I kept reading and seeking God’s word in this story. Both Naaman and myself, were looking for something ‘BIG’ in response to our requests. Both of us, instead, found reward is in the obedience of the one seeking.
Regardless of the lack luster boom by which Naaman’s miracle occurred, it was a sign to me that money was not my real issue, but healing was. Healing the doubt which had crept in and taken my eyes off of God. This small glimpse to the left and to the right, had opened the door for fear to come in. God didn’t need my husband to be CEO of a major company or for us to be a two income family, as His willingness to provide for us was already there. I just needed to walk in faith and be obedient to the instructions I had received from God; “Be where you are, that is my plan for you.”
I was beginning to come to terms with the understanding that the answer to my efforts and prayer for financial fitness, would not come with a big hoopla of financial gain, but instead with simple, consistent following of instructions which had already been provided. Naaman’s healing came because his servant brought sensibility back to his commander, ‘“My father, if the prophet had told you 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) These were simple instructions, so simple in fact, Naaman didn’t believe they would be effective. Elisha did not run after him, nor did he convince Naaman that these were in fact from God, but, instead, left it to Naaman himself to decide whether or not he would be healed. Our instructions were to follow the spending plan model and weekly meet to record our expenses. Simple yet requiring us to follow them. Our coach will not convince or run after my husband and I to follow the model, but has left it up to us to decide if we really want healing in this area of our life. Definitely not what I had envisioned this process to look like.
Has that ever happened to you? You have these grandiose ideas as to how a prayer should be answered and what it should look like. When it doesn’t happen the way you were expecting, it appears not to have been answered at all? The idea that one could receive a miraculous healing without an awe inspiring scene seems wrong, yet, in this chapter, that is exactly what we are told. Naaman, Commander of the Aramean army, a peoples who captured and enslaved the Israelite people, was healed because he sought the LORD and followed his commands. Obedience was rewarded with results, and responded to with an offer of payment. Elisha neither requested, nor accepted the, “ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold and ten sets of clothing,” (2 Kings 5:5) that were offered as gifts to him. In refusing payment, Elisha reminds us that God is a gracious God who does not ask for, nor does he accept our offerings in exchange for his love; rather it is our obedience that he seeks.
I thought about the medical bills I was looking at having to pay when our extended health care benefits ran out, and realized, God was not asking me to have money saved to cover the costs of future expenses. No, He was asking me to be faithful to the process right now and trust him to provide what we need. If the Lord cared enough to heal the leader of an Aramean army, how much more will the Lord take care of my family, meeting our needs when I bring them before him and then in obedience, follow his commands. I did not need to be afraid, nor did I need to worry about where the money would come from, I needed to remain faithful to Jehovah-Rapha, The LORD who Heals. ‘“If you listen carefully to the LORD your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, who heals you.”’ (Exodus 15:26)
What a tidbit of treasure to be reminded of and to know that it lies within my treasure chest. God’s ability to heal knows no limits and his willingness to answer prayer has no price His grace is freely given to those who seek him and he desires to give good gifts to all who follow him and obey his commands. Glory for him is not bought, it is lovingly given and up to us to receive. Rewards are not purchased, but granted when in obedience we follow the instructions he has given us. It no longer became a question of whether my efforts were good enough, but rather a question of how I was going to respond. If I continue to allow doubt to creep in, I miss out on receiving his blessings; if I shift my eyes back to Him who loves me, then I can be confident in the instructions I am given. I have chosen to dip my finances in the waters of faith, to be patient in the healing of them, and to trust the process.
For you have blessed our family and always respond to our needs. There is no room for doubt, because you are faithful. Help me Lord, with my unbelief and continue to bring awareness to me when I am wandering from your ways. May you always be honoured and glorified through me, and may I remain faithful and obedient; your servant who seeks your will and desires to walk in your ways.