Each year, someone usually gives me a journal on my birthday or at Christmas (or both). Based on my thrilled response to these journals, you would think I’d been given the Tuscan sun.
Now, don’t laugh. You have your favorite birthday gifts too. So mine just happen to be journals. Why? Because each journal is different and full of fresh pages, whose words are yet to be written, with experiences yet to be lived and truths yet to be discovered.
Journaling is part of my quiet time with God, and I’d like to share with you an entry from my journal, based on II Kings 5. This is the story where Naaman, the leper and captain of the Syrian host, seeks Elisha the prophet for healing.
I tried not to edit my entry, and I hope its authenticity helps you see that each one of our lives, though perhaps not patterned the way we had “planned,” is orchestrated by an unexpected, awesome God.
If you’re feeling discouraged with something in life that hasn’t gone according to plan, don’t forget that God is never late, never surprised and often works in mysterious ways for the praise of His glory.
II Kings 5:10-12 (NKJV):
And Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored to you, and you shall be clean.”
But Naaman became furious, and went away and said, “Indeed, I said to myself, ‘He will surely come out to me, and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place, and heal the leprosy.’
Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? may I not wash in them, and be clean? So he turned and went away in a rage.
When Elisha sends a messenger to tell Naaman to wash in the Jordan seven times, Naaman becomes angry. First, Elisha didn’t even deliver the message in person. Second, the Jordan was a muddy river. How insulting! This wasn’t at all what Naaman had imagined.
And therein was the problem – for Naaman and us today. God doesn’t act like we expect Him to act, and we become upset. God’s plans don’t seem to make sense, so we go and sulk.
And yet, in doing so, we risk missing out on God’s tremendous blessings, as Naaman would have had he not obeyed.
Lord, just because my life doesn’t look the way I planned it – or like “everyone else’s” – doesn’t mean something’s wrong with me – or with Your plan. It is unexpected, and that’s okay…
I have two choices. Become frustrated and angry like Naaman or walk on in expectation for God to do great things in unlikely ways.
I choose to walk on.