With a snap of his fingers we want God to work some pizzazz, heal us from everything that hurts us, and help us out of every hardship
We learn from the Bible that Naaman was a “commander of the army of the king of Aram. He was a great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded, because through him the Lord had given victory to Aram. He was a valiant soldier.” He was the Norman Schwartzkopf of the day. A hero among his people and highly respected among his peers. Why? Because he was a strong, brave, wise, and valiant soldier with a chest full of colorful ribbons and dangling medals. A tank of a man who couldn’t fall down, who wouldn’t fail. However, all this information is a setup so that the Bible writer can then deliver the punch line, “but he had leprosy” (2 Kings 5).
Naaman asked God’s prophet, Elisha, to cure this incurable disease. Elisha consented, but didn’t even come out to meet him personally. He simply sent a messenger to Naaman telling him to go wash in the Jordan River seven times. So “Naaman went away angry and said, ‘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.’” Naaman had seen one too many movies about miracles. Oh, there were exceptions like the dramatic plagues in Egypt or the fire that Elijah called down from heaven on Mount Carmel. But normally God works the wonders of his love quietly in the stillness of a person’s heart. Without pizzazz.
What pizzazz have you been expecting? “God, please help me in my struggle against sin by giving me a new job, with different people, in upper management, and an office with a window would be nice.” “God, if you’d only let me win a million dollars I could increase my financial offering to the church.” “God, please make Maria move out of my neighborhood so she doesn’t make fun of me anymore.”
With a snap of his fingers we want God to work some pizzazz, heal us from everything that hurts us, and help us out of every hardship. And we want it now. And when God works less quickly and less obviously we become disheartened and disinterested and, like Naaman, even angry. And we dare to accuse God of not caring, just because he doesn’t dazzle us with pizzazz! If he truly didn’t care, he’d let us walk away and pout our way out of his reach for good. But our God cares, for us as much as he cared for the foreigner Naaman, and he quietly, insistently, works his healing and helping in our lives. In small things. With humble beginnings. Under normal circumstances. Why? So that we can’t boast about how it happened and miss the whole point. Rather, God wants us to boast about who has done it, and to remember why. God heals because of his mercy. Free from pizzazz.
Go to that God, like Naaman did, and ask him to heal your body and heal your soul. Don’t look for pizzazz because he wants your faith to trust that against all odds he can work a miracle of his love for you. Then you’ll learn that nothing is impossible with God whatever the circumstances. And you’ll live by faith, not by sight.
PRAYER: Sometimes I find it hard to understand, Lord, that you have almighty power to do anything and yet limit yourself to such simply ways. I confess that I often resent this. I want power and drama and pizzazz! So forgive my sin of doubt that would delight only in my Hollywood version of faith, and feed my faith with what is small and humble and weak. Because this is what is big and exalted and strong in your kingdom. Amen.