Naaman finds himself in a set of helpless circumstances. This commander in the army of the King of Aram aches with a terrible disease, leprosy, for which there was no cure. Though known commonly as a skin disease, leprosy stems from the nervous system. Patients of leprosy often experience very painful disfigurations of their hands, feet, and even nose. We can imagine that Naaman wakes up every morning and goes to bed each night with a lot of pain.
Yet, thanks to a courageous servant in his household, Naaman gets a second chance at life. A servant girl suggests that he travel to her home country of Israel and ask for the prophet. She knows Naaman can find healing if he asks.
We, like Naaman, may find ourselves in a time of trouble today. Our circumstance may look and feel bleak. We may be seeking a cure to a physical, emotional, or spiritual disease that troubles us but for which we have no answer. Naaman’s story reminds us that a journey of faith must be rooted in persistence. Who knows what answers another email might bring? Or phone call? Or conversation? Sometimes God answers our prayers for help as we put feet to the answers we’re seeking.
God, it’s easy to grow tired as we wait for your answers. Help us today to keep asking, keep seeking, and keep listening for your gifts of help. We don’t want to miss them when they arrive. Amen.
The readings from the Hebrew scriptures describe what can happen when our own strength fails us. Naaman is a great military commander from Syria, but he has no power to heal himself. The psalmist, traditionally David, has become too comfortable in his prosperity. Both men must humble themselves before they can experience healing and restoration from God. How often do we let our pride stand in the way of our healing? Paul admonishes his readers to carry themselves with humility and to build up one another. What they do will always come back to them; what we sow, we reap. The story in Luke warns against being proud even of the gifts that God gives us. Our greatest joy is not that we can do things for God but that God already has accepted us.
Read 2 Kings 5:1-14. When have God’s instructions been more involved than you expected? How did you respond?
Read Psalm 30. How can you continue to praise God during the dark, lonely, and hopeless times?
Read Galatians 6:1-16. When has your faith community struggled with members’ lack of humility? How did you resolve the situation so that you could welcome and nurture new Christians?
Read Luke 10:1-11, 16-20. When have you misconstrued God’s accomplishments as your own successes? How did you refocus your life or ministry on serving God?
Respond by posting a prayer.