Read His Words Before Ours!
From the outside, it looked like I had it all together.
Wealthy, successful, happily-married.
I was respected, even admired, by everyone around me.
They knew of the victories the Aramean army had won under my leadership, of how I was hailed as a mighty warrior. I had worked hard, and now I was reaping the rewards. Second in command only to the king, I was proud of all I had achieved.
But I had a secret. I was getting sick. The scabs and patches appearing on my skin were tell-tale signs of leprosy. They were multiplying and spreading, and I knew there was no cure.
The thought of what lay ahead terrified me, not only the physical suffering, but people’s reactions when they found out.
Instead of being admired and applauded, I would be an outcast, branded unclean.
Instead of being viewed as successful, I would be seen as . . . broken.
I wasn’t familiar with feeling powerless.
All my life I’d been the one to whom people turned, the man with the answer, but this time I felt defeated. No amount of wealth or power could fix this problem. It seemed so unfair, and I was helpless to change it.
Then, my wife shared with me a suggestion from her Israelite servant; I should go and see a prophet in Samaria. She believed he would heal me.
My desperation outweighed the ridiculousness I felt at taking a servant girl’s advice, so I went to the King and explained the situation. He gave his blessing for my trip to Samaria and provided a letter to the King of Israel, so I set off along with many gifts, gold, silver, and luxurious clothing. If this prophet really could heal me, I was prepared to pay handsomely.
After meeting with the King of Israel, I was sent to the prophet, Elisha. Trembling, I waited at the door of his house. Within me, hope warred with the fear of disappointment.
Finally, a messenger came out, “Go wash seven times in the Jordan and your skin will be restored and you will be clean.” (2 Kings 5:10)
I. was. furious.
This so-called prophet wasn’t even going to come out and see me?!
Didn’t he know who I was?!
I’d expected him to stand before me, wave his hands over my body, and call on his God to heal me, not tell me to bathe in a river! And compared to the cool, crystal-clear waters of Damascan rivers, the Jordan was a sludge-filled creek! Why couldn’t I just have bathed in a river back home?
I regretted getting my hopes up. This whole trip was pointless! I felt scandalized!
“Sir . . . ” One of my officers approached, tentatively, interrupting my clear rage.
“If the prophet had asked you to do something difficult, you would have done it. Why don’t you give it a try and do as he says? Go and wash in the river.”
Well, he had a point. I’d already come this far, might as well see it through . . .
The cool water washed over me as I submerged myself seven times. It was certainly refreshing, but it also felt like I was being cleansed, and not just on the surface, but deep inside.
When I finally dared to look at my skin, I knew instantly it had worked! There was no sign of leprosy. I was healed!
We rushed back to thank the prophet Elisha. Overflowing with gratitude, I attempted to give him the gifts I had brought.
I realised I wasn’t only grateful to Elisha; his God had healed me. The God of Israel was the true God. I was humbled by His power, which far exceeded my own, and by His love and mercy in healing me despite my pride and stubbornness.
Nothing could persuade Elisha to accept the gifts I offered, and, believe me, I tried. In the end, I had to humbly accept the healing as a gift of grace. Elisha did grant my request to load up two of my mules with earth to take home. While I had to return to Aram, I wanted to take a little bit of Israel with me. I vowed to worship and serve the true God, the living God, forever.
Then I remembered . . .
When I accompanied the King to the temple of his god, Rimmon, he would bow, and as he leaned on my arm and I supported him, I would have no choice but to bow too. Would God pardon me for this? Surely the worship of my heart was what really mattered. Who knows, maybe someday God would give me the opportunity to share of His true power through my story of healing!
Confirming my belief, Elisha told me to go in peace,
so I went,
full of joy and gratitude,
not only healed
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!