Have you ever struggled in your faith? Have you ever had trouble believing God was there? Has your faith become more about you and less about Him?
I admit to you that I have my answer to these questions lately has been a resounding yes. I have been praying that God would move and lead me in some areas of my life and as I have been praying, it seems that God has been silent. Like He has moved somewhere else, taking care of more important requests for more important people.
I know, I know….God isn’t like that and He hasn’t moved on from me. I know this all too well. I, as a pastor, (yes a pastor) have told people I counsel this many times. Wow! You are probably thinking, “what kind of pastor is this guy?”
Well, I am still in the middle of these questions but what I have come to realize is that God is there and He is listening and He is answering. The problem is that I am not hearing what I want to hear, so I blame Him!
Through all of this, God brought me to a story in the Old Testament about a man named Naaman. The story is found in 2 Kings 5:1-15. Naaman was a commander of the army in Aram and was blessed by God with victory after victory. The only problem was that he had a severe skin disease. Long story short (I encourage you to read it for yourself) Naaman is told by a Israel servant girl that he should go see the prophet of God in Samaria, his disease could be healed. When he shows up through lots of circumstances at Elisha the prophet’s house, Elisha sends out a servant who gives Naaman instructions to go wash in the river 7 times and he will be healed. But Naaman got angry that Elisha didn’t come out himself.
In other words, Naaman didn’t like that way that God was going to heal him so he chose to get mad, frustrated and questioned God!
This got me to thinking about me. Am I like this? Do I have everything figured out FOR God? Do I listen and trust and obey even if I don’t like what God is telling me to do or do I think there is a better way? Isn’t it amazing how sometimes I think I know better than the Creator and Savior of the Universe? Such pride! Anyway, I say all of this to say that I think Naaman was also afraid. He was being asked – in a way that he didn’t like – to relinquish control in his life. This guy was important and strong and fierce and he was being asked to be vulnerable, to listen to someone else, and to do something that didn’t make sense. Fear. Fear paralyzes. Fear causes us to complain. Fear causes us to doubt and to blame others or worse, God. That is what I have noticed in my life at least.
I ask God to answer and He does and I don’t like the answer and immediately I become fearful and I turn my fear into anger, frustration and lack of faith.
Let me encourage you today as I am learning that hard way, to let faith win out instead of fear. That leads to faith and peace that you can’t imagine!
Naaman eventually listened and obeyed – giving up all control – and he was healed and according to verse 15 he turned and worship God!
I want that. I want to be in a place of worship. I want to be in a place of peace. I want to be in a place of healing. As difficult as it is even as I write this, I am going to go wash in the river and trust Him over me. I don’t know best, He does. I don’t really have my best interest at heart, He does. I don’t see the big picture, He does. So I will trust and obey and I will worship!