Disclaimer: This blog is a place where I can record moments and memories for me and my family. It is a place where I share laughter and sorrow. It is also a place I share things I feel God is teaching me. I do so because I want my children to be able to look back at this some day and have some insight into my soul...the good, the bad, and the ugly! The following is just what I feel God showing me today. It is certainly not a claim to having this all figured out.
We begin school each morning by reading a passage from the Bible and having a short discussion of what the passage might be teaching us. I opted to forego the curriculum suggestions and instead use a family devotion guide from Children Desiring God during this time. It has proven to be a great study on prayer as Jesus taught us to pray.
Today, we read 2 Kings 5:1-14. It's the story of Naaman, a commander in the Syrian army who happened to stand in high favor with the king of Syria. While Naaman boasted many victories (which according to 2 Kings were given to him by the Lord), he had one major problem. Naaman had leprosy.
It just so happened that Naaman also had a maidservant who was a Jewish girl of great faith (that he happened to acquire in one of his raids on the land of Israel) who pitied him and told him of a prophet in Israel that could cure his leprosy. So, after getting permission from the king, he set off for Israel to be healed by the prophet of the LORD.
When Naaman reached Elisha, Elisha did not even come to the door. Instead, he sent his orders to Naaman through a messenger, "Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored, and you shall be made clean."
Verse 11 says, "But Naaman was angry and went away saying, 'Behold, I thought he would surely come out to me and stand and call upon the name of the LORD his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure the leper." He went on to complain that there were much nicer rivers than the Jordan, and the end of verse 12 tells us that he went away in a rage.
Finally, his servants talk some sense into him and he follows Elisha's instructions and is indeed cured of his leprosy and made clean. He also went on to profess that there is only one true God and that is the LORD God of Israel.
As we pondered this account together, I found myself face to face with my own stubborn pride. How many (many many many...) times have I become enraged when God's execution did not meet my expectations of His execution?
How crazy Naaman must have looked storming off, refusing to accept healing from God just because it did not happen the way he thought it should have happened. I'm sure his friends were scratching their heads thinking, but isn't it worth it to be cured of your leprosy, you pompous arrogant stubborn man?
I can look back over my entire walk with Christ from the moment I decided to follow through every step of transformation and sanctification that has occurred since that moment, and I can say that many times, God chose a path for me that I would not have chosen for myself.
I didn't choose to follow Christ until the Lord allowed my world to be rocked in such a violent way that the only way I could even hope to survive was to put my faith in Him. At the time, I saw that life-altering moment as punishment for not living the way I had been taught I should live. I now see it as the most loving act of grace that God has ever bestowed on me.
The same is true for each and every struggle, pain, and grief I have suffered in the sixteen years since. I would hope that my reactions would have improved over the years, but it seems that I, like Naaman, am a pompous arrogant stubborn girl. I actually think that I know better than the Sovereign God Almighty what is best for me.
If that were not true, then I wouldn't get so discouraged when God brings me pain. If that were not true, then I wouldn't resist so violently when God asks me to change. If that were not true, then I would not get so enraged when I do not get my way.
But, sadly, it is true. I am full of pride. I don't really trust God.
Praise God that He chooses to sanctify me despite my lack of trust. He chooses to patiently refine me despite my anger. He chooses to save me in spite of my stubborn pride.
As we went around the room this morning, each of my children could think of circumstances that God had brought into their lives that had made them angry. Each teared up as they related what they had expected from God and how he had failed to meet those expectations.
My prayer for myself and my children is that each of us, by God's grace, would be able to recognize our arrogance and instead respond in faith the next time God brings suffering our way. Because ultimately only God is completely trustworthy. Only God is always loving. Only God is unwaveringly faithful. And I am absolutely sure that only God knows for certain what is good for me.
May I begin to trust His sovereign grace...always for His glory...always for my good.