Week of June 29
Do you have unfulfilled expectations? Is there an unmet need in your life, or has a dream been shattered? Sometimes in life we experience setbacks and failures. We work towards a goal, only to see it thwarted. We have an image in our minds of the perfect family, career, or lifestyle--yet what we have in reality is disappointing.
Hopes and dreams are not bad--they inspire us to keep going. But when dreams fail, they leave us confused, disillusioned and sometimes devastated. Unfulfilled expectations are painful. They can even be traumatic, especially when we have put our whole hope in these expectations.
Read 2 Kings 5. In this passage we see a man who almost became a casualty to his high expectations. Yet because he was willing to subdue his ego and submit to the Word of God; he experienced a miracle.
Naaman was a powerful man, but he had a painful problem: "Now Naaman was 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, but he had leprosy" (2 Kings 5:1).
There are many similarities between leprosy and sin. Like leprosy, sin begins small--a little patch--and then spreads insidiously all over the body, infecting our faculties, twisting our intellect, perverting our emotions, hardening our conscience and enslaving our will.
Leprosy and sin both lead to decreased sensitivity. Leprosy causes diminished nerve centers and the inability to feel sensation. Likewise, when we allow sin to control our lives, we become callous and numb to the Word of God.
During the days of the Bible, leprosy patients were treated as if they were already dead. There was no cure, and the lepers were isolated from the community. They were hopeless, considered living death. When Jesus Christ healed leprosy in the Gospels, He was not only performing a miracle but doing the unimaginable. The Savior touched the untouchable and loved the unlovable. He healed lepers when society wanted to isolate them. He forgave them when nobody else could. That same Savior is the only One who can perform a miracle in our hearts today.
We can only imagine how horrible leprosy was for Naaman--he had power and victory in every area of his life, except his health. Fortunately, there was a Hebrew slave girl in his household who told Naaman's wife, "If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy" (2 Kings 5:3). The girl's faith was not in the prophet, but in the God he served. She knew Jehovah-Rapha had the power to heal a disease that nobody else could.
Yet when Naaman met Elisha, his expectations were shattered. "Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, 'Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.' But 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....Couldn't I wash in them and be cleansed?' So he turned and went off in a rage" (2 Kings 5:10-12).
When Naaman finally conceded and dipped in the River Jordan seven times, his skin was healed. The miracle did not come from the river, or even Elisha's words. The miracle came from Naaman's trip to the river, because there is blessing in surrender. There is a miracle in obedience. There is provision in submission. There is healing in yielding.
What sin have you been refusing to surrender to God? What disobedience have you been rationalizing? Pray to God today, "Lord God, I come to you in obedience. I cannot give this up, but help me give it up. Lord, I cannot do this. Please help me to do it. Lord, I don't want to surrender this, but I want you to help me to."
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