Daily Office Readings for Monday of Proper 20: Year 1
“But Naaman became angry and went away, saying, ‘I thought that for me he would surely come out, and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, and would wave his hand over the spot, and cure the leprosy:” (2nd Kings 5:11).
I will deal with Naaman in a moment. But for now let us go back and see the unnamed girl who informed Naaman’s wife and therefore Naaman about the existence of Elisha the Prophet of God. She is another unnamed prophet of the Bible. There are many such women who get no recognition.
Now for Naaman. How often do we also ask God to “fix” something only in the way we want it done? Naaman already had in his mind what to expect from Elisha, even though he didn’t even know Elisha existed until he was told by his slave girl. So too we also often pray for specific outcomes from God. We want God to cure ourselves or a relative rather than just say “God’s will be done,” and ask for divine intervention in whatever way God sees fit. I can recall our Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry, saying, the best we can pray is to just say to God, “Help.” And then let God take it from there.
There is often a requirement for us to participate in the response from God just as Naaman was told to go and wash seven times. Sometimes we are asked to spend time with the response we are seeking while not knowing what that response will look like. It also serves us well to see that God will use those among us to inform us about how we should interpret what is happening to us. In our story today, one in the company of Naaman makes him realize that had it been something difficult he would not have hesitated to do it, yet he questioned washing seven times. We ask because we don’t know. If we don’t know then we should be prepared to accept the divine response when, and how, and from whom, it comes.
God loves us and the Holy Spirit of God will often speak through sometimes unnamed, or even very close persons, to help us. All we have to do is listen, not second guess, and respond as told to do. God will take it from there.
As we listen to what the Spirit is saying to us, let us live to love, to serve, and to teach, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John