In this the second article looking at the question of how far are you willing to go, we will be looking at the story of a man who was very significant and successful in many ways. He was the commander of the army of his nation, not just an ordinary commander but a very successful one at that. However this great warrior suffered from a major limitation – he was a leper. The man’s name is Naaman.
In the process of time the Arameans waged war against Israel and captured a young girl who was taken to serve Naaman’s household. On seeing the condition of her master, the young girl from the nation of Israel spoke to her mistress, Naaman’s wife and said, ‘I wish my master would go and see the prophet in Samaria. He would heal him of his leprosy’.
With all the pomp and circumstance that he felt the occasion demanded, Naaman started out with gifts of silver, gold and articles of clothing. He went and presented himself to the King of Israel, asking to be healed of his leprosy. The King of Israel read the letter that the King of Aram had given to Naaman and was in total dismay, tearing his clothes. In his mind he felt that the King of Aram was looking for an opportunity to pick a fight with him. The news of the visit of this foreign delegation and the impact it had on the king reached the ears of the prophet Elisha. The prophet asked that Naaman be redirected to him; which was duly done.
On getting near the home of the prophet, Elisha simply sent a word through his servant, instructing Naaman to go to the Jordan River, wash himself seven times, and his skin would be restored. On hearing this Naaman became very angry and stormed off. He took offence, feeling deeply insulted. In his anger he turned to go back to Aram, saying in effect that the rivers in Damascus were much cleaner and therefore better than any of those in Israel. As he was going away in his rage, his officers reasoned with him. They stated that if the prophet had demanded a big feat from him, he would have attempted it.
The instruction or directive given to Naaman was simple – go, wash and be cured. The wise counsel from his servants got Naaman’s attention. He turned back and did as the prophet had instructed. The result was that his skin became as healthy as that of a young child. He was completely healed.
In this simple story we see an example of a man who was willing to go to great lengths to begin with. He was desperate enough to make the long journey from his nation to Samaria. He was desperate enough to go from the King to the prophet’s doorstep. However he almost missed the major turn in the road because his pride had been wounded when the prophet failed to show up, but instead sent a messenger to him. After he had reflected upon and followed the advice of his servants, Naaman took the last small step; swallowing his pride he went into the river.
Again the challenge is simply: are you willing to take the last small step into ‘the river’ and do as you have been told? How far are you willing to go?
Copyright Emmanuel Mbakwe 2015©
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