Naaman, the army commander of the king of Aram, was highly esteemed and respected by his master, for through him the LORD had brought victory to Aram. But valiant as he was, the man was a leper. Now the Arameans had captured from the land of Israel in a raid a little girl, who became the servant of Naaman’s wife. She said to her mistress, “If only my master would present himself to the prophet in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.”
Naaman went and told his master, “This is what the girl from the land of Israel said.” The king of Aram said, “Go. I will send along a letter to the king of Israel.” So Naaman set out, taking along ten silver talents, six thousand gold pieces, and ten festal garments.
He brought the king of Israel the letter, which read: “With this letter I am sending my servant Naaman to you, that you may cure him of his leprosy.” When he read the letter, the king of Israel tore his garments and exclaimed: “Am I a god with power over life and death, that his man should send someone for me to cure him of leprosy? Take note! You can see he is only looking for a quarrel with me!” When Elisha, the man of God, heard that the king of Israel had torn his garments, he sent word to the king: “Why have you torn your garments? Let him come to me and find out that there is a prophet in Israel.”
Naaman came with his horses and chariot and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house. Elisah sent him the message: “Go and wash seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will heal, and you will be clean.” But Naaman went away angry, saying, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand there to call on the name of the LORD his God, and would move his hand over the place, and thus cure the leprous spot. Are not the rivers of Damascus, the Abana and the Pharpar, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be cleansed?” With this, he turned about in anger and left.
But his servants came up and reasoned with him: “My father, if the prophet told you to do something extraordinary, would you not do it? All the more since he told you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?” So Naaman went down and plunted into the Jordan seven times, according to the word of the man of God. His flesh became again like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean. ~ 2 Kings 5:1-14 (NAB-RE)
Recently I purchased a wrist brace to help eleviate some of the pain I was having due to the repetitive motions of crocheting. It was to the point where I had to rest my wrist for several days when the pain flared up. I had tried exercises and stretches, but nothing seemed to matter. The last straw came when I had an entire Saturday spread before me, but was unable to crochet due to the pain. Just holding the hook hurt my wrist. After searching on the internet I came across a brace that seemed to treat the kinds of symptoms I was experiencing. I quickly ordered it and couldn’t wait for it to arrive.
This brace is a very simple piece of equipment. It is made of two wide pieces of Velcro that are cut into a specific shape that wraps around your wrist and secures the tendons that are causing the pain. The cost was $30. As I pulled the brace out of the packaging I remembered the anger in some of the reviews I had read. People were very upset that they had paid $30 for what is essentially two pieces of Velcro. Some reviews admitted that it had helped reduce or eliminate the pain they were experiencing, but all they received were two pieces of Velcro!! For $30!!
Why do we feel that in order for a treatment to be effective it has to be fancy? In the midst of my pain I gladly paid $30 for something that would help. Is it just two pieces of Velcro? Yep. Does it work? YES!
I can understand that some people might feel that they are being ripped off. For $30 they must have wanted a high-tech brace that was lined in copper and had fifty different buckles that had to be adjusted in tiny increments in order to get it to correctly support the painful tendons. Just like Naaman felt that Elisha should have waved his hands in the air, possibly said some words in another language, and then shoot lighting bolts from his fingertips in order to cure the leprosy. Being told to go wash seven times in a nasty river (the Jordan was much dirtier than the other rivers he named in the verse), well, the whole thing is just anti-climatic. What was he going to tell his wife when he got home? “Yeah, so I just went for a quick swim in the Jordan and when I dried off it was all gone.” What kind of miraculous cure is that?
Unfortunately, this is one of the reasons why we have superbugs now and antibiotics are prescribed for everything. People go to the doctor and don’t want to be told that they just have to rest and hydrate in order to get better. There has to be a pill that will help! Or maybe some kind of fancy treatment. When you are miserable and sick you want to think that there’s something that science can do for you. Letting your body heal itself is not what some people want to hear.
When I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease I had no idea what it meant or what the treatment would entail. At the very least you imagine that it would include some kind of prescription that you will have to be on for the rest of your life. I was quite shocked when I was told that the only treatment is a gluten free diet. That’s it. If I don’t ingest gluten then my body doesn’t panic and essentially attack itself. As long as my body isn’t attacking itself then I will process nutrients correctly and won’t suffer from other illnesses caused by nutrient deficiencies. It’s as simple as that (actually, it’s not as simple as that, but it is for this illustration). Did I flip out on my doctor and demand that he prescribe me something that will make me feel like I’m being treated? No. Unlike Naaman, I simply thanked the doctor and then started navigating the world of gluten-free foods. I had wanted a cure and it was given to me. Thank you, God.
Dear Lord, please help us to see that it’s not the size or grandness of the gift, but the impact it produces that counts. Amen.