Control / Trust

The king of Aram had great admiration for Naaman, the commander of his army, because through him the Lord had given Aram great victories. But though Naaman was a mighty warrior, he suffered from leprosy.

At this time Aramean raiders had invaded the land of Israel, and among their captives was a young girl who had been given to Naaman’s wife as a maid. One day the girl said to her mistress, “I wish my master would go to see the prophet in Samaria. He would heal him of his leprosy.”

So Naaman told the king what the young girl from Israel had said. “Go and visit the prophet,” the king of Aram told him. “I will send a letter of introduction for you to take to the king of Israel.” So Naaman started out, carrying as gifts 750 pounds of silver, 150 pounds of gold, and ten sets of clothing. The letter to the king of Israel said: “With this letter I present my servant Naaman. I want you to heal him of his leprosy.”

When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes in dismay and said, “Am I God, that I can give life and take it away? Why is this man asking me to heal someone with leprosy? I can see that he’s just trying to pick a fight with me.”

But when Elisha, the man of God, heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes in dismay, he sent this message to him: “Why are you so upset? Send Naaman to me, and he will learn that there is a true prophet here in Israel.”

So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and waited at the door of Elisha’s house. But Elisha sent a messenger out to him with this message: “Go and wash yourself seven times in the Jordan River. Then your skin will be restored, and you will be healed of your leprosy.”

But Naaman became angry and stalked away. “I thought he would certainly come out to meet me!” he said. “I expected him to wave his hand over the leprosy and call on the name of the Lord his God and heal me! Aren’t the rivers of Damascus, the Abana and the Pharpar, better than any of the rivers of Israel? Why shouldn’t I wash in them and be healed?” So Naaman turned and went away in a rage.

But his officers tried to reason with him and said, “Sir, if the prophet had told you to do something very difficult, wouldn’t you have done it? So you should certainly obey him when he says simply, ‘Go and wash and be cured!’” So Naaman went down to the Jordan River and dipped himself seven times, as the man of God had instructed him. And his skin became as healthy as the skin of a young child, and he was healed!

Then Naaman and his entire party went back to find the man of God. They stood before him, and Naaman said, “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel.” (2 Kings 5:1–15 NLT)



I am continuously learning that as I practice letting go of the first, I grow in my ability to do the second. These two words continue to be themes that pop up over and over in my walk with Jesus as I do my best to follow wherever he may be leading. So, I shouldn’t have been surprised that these were two themes that emerged to me as I spent time with our reading for today.

Namaan’s story is one of learning to trust: to trust the words of this prophet will lead to healing. As I read his initial reaction to the healing that was offered, I was reminded how I similarly have been a barrier to my own healing and peace because it wasn’t offered to me in the way I thought it should be.

Naaman was “a mighty warrior,” respected by his king, but Naaman suffered from leprosy. At the time, leprosy was seen as incurable and often would have carried very strong social stigmas and isolation with it. It was a disease that was (and still is) highly transferrable without a clear understanding of how people actually contract it – even now. As he is living with this dreaded disease, he is told by a servant girl that there is a prophet who could heal him. And there is a glimmer of hope, of peace, that there could be an end to his suffering.

He gets permission from his king to go to Israel to see the prophet, and when he interacts with the king of Israel, he is turned away. And the glimmer of hope starts to fade.

The prophet Elisha hears of Naaman’s visit and sends for him. And the glimmer of hope for relief is renewed.

When they arrive at Elisha’s house, a messenger is sent out and gives Naaman instructions to go wash in the Jordan River seven times. Naaman is annoyed. Not only does Elisha himself not come out to heal him, but Naaman is given a task to accomplish to be healed. He expects to be greeted and treated with the respect due his position. He expects the healing to come easily, to be done for him. As a result, he almost walks away from the healing he’s hoped for, and the peace it would bring, because it didn’t come to him like he thought it would or should.

How often am I guilty of doing that in my own life? During a difficult or disheartening situation, where I long to experience peace, I can become very set on how I think that peace or resolution should come to me when God answers my prayer. I become fixated on my expected outcome and can be blinded, for a time, to the solution and peace God is offering me. Until I release control and trust that God is good and will do what he says he will do, I can get in my own way and not experience the healing or peace I am most longing for.

I have learned (and am still learning) that I need to relinquish control and actually trust him in order to receive the peace he promises. I need to be reminded that the peace he gives me is different from the way the world gives peace (John 14:27).

I need to remember that my timing isn’t always God’s timing.

Lord, enable us to see the ways in which you are offering peace to us today. Help us to trust in you more fully and deeply. Help us to relinquish control of expected outcomes and rest in the truth that you are good and in control and that your peace is not of this world.
Sara-May Cardy is a member of the pastoral staff at Greenfield Community Church in Edmonton, Alberta, as well as the NAB’s Missional Initiatives Team.