Answered Prayer?

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Answered prayers don’t always come in the packages that we anticipate or plan. It’s how much we trust God that makes the difference and what we do with them that matters. In 2 Kings 5 we meet Naaman, “who is the commander of the army for the king of Aram, a great man in his master’s sight and highly regarded because through him, the LORD had given victory to Aram. He was a brave warrior, but he had a skin disease.” (v.1)
To make a long story short, Naaman really wanted to get rid of his skin disease because he has a new young wife and I’m certain no one really wants to keep a skin disease (which many scholars think was leprosy) young wife or not. So the King sends him with silver and other treasures to the King of Israel for healing by Elisha (the man of God) that they had all heard about. After some fear issues from the king about war, etc. Naaman goes to Elijah’s house and knocks at the door waiting to see Elijah. Soon, a messenger from Elijah approaches and instructs him to “Go wash seven times in the Jordan and your flesh will be restored and you will be clean.” (v.10)
Naaman didn’t receive this instruction very well. In his mind, he thought something more spectacular should happen. “Naaman got angry and left, saying, “I was telling myself: He will surely come out, stand and call on the name of Yahweh his God, and will wave his hand over the spot and cure the skin disease.” (v.11) Naaman was downright angry, turned and left in a rage. I mean, he had come for healing and didn’t even get to see the prophet himself. He only received a simple instruction from a messenger. He felt shafted. Thankfully, he had a level-headed servant who spoke gently, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more should you do it when he tells you, ‘Wash and be clean’?” (v. 13)
So Naaman went, washed and was healed instantly and then boldly declared, “I know there’s no God in the whole world except in Israel. Therefore, please accept a gift from your servant.” (v. 15)

God doesn’t always do flashy, giant and extravagant things. He doesn’t have to. Consider this, he spoke creation into existence. He may choose to get our attention with the loud stuff sometimes, but He speaks in the gentle whisper (1 Kings 19:12) and His ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8). I wonder what would have happened if Naaman hadn’t had a servant who was bold enough to speak the truth to him that day? Would he have missed the miracle all together? Would he have gone the rest of his life with the skin disease never knowing and believing in God?
I wonder how many miracles I’ve missed out on seeing or experiencing because of my stubbornness or personal ideas of what answered prayers should look like? I pray from here on out, we are all more open to God’s way, lean less on our own understanding and more on His. May we follow Him in obedience and with a mighty trust and be bold enough to speak out and give those around us Godly advice when we see the need.

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