Wednesday, May 2, 2012

That's What Friends Are For

    When Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his robes, he sent him this message: “Why have you torn your robes? Have the man come to me and he will know that there is a prophet in Israel.” So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house. Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.”
     But Naaman went away angry and said, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy.  Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?” So he turned and went off in a rage.
      Naaman’s servants went to him and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!” So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.

    The message of this passage is obviously that Naaman didn’t have the faith to do what he was told to be healed, but when he finally obeyed, he was.  There is also a pride message here.  One in that Naaman seemed to know better than the prophet what needed to be done, almost a sense of entitlement on his part.  Of course, these are wonderful messages for all of us.  It’s so important that we listen to truth and obey, it’s crucial that we let go of our pride and change our minds sometimes.  My mind has been changed by the spirit.  It has been changed by reading scripture.  God can change our hearts and minds in many ways and this story illustrates one.
    What if Naaman had no servants, or dare I say, friends?  If they hadn’t been there to convince him, would he still have gone down to the river?  I know there have been times in my life where I just needed someone to convince me of the truth.  Maybe I already knew it and was being stubborn.  Maybe I just wasn’t seeing it at all because of my foolish pride or the lies that were hindering my view of truth.  Whatever the case, my loving friend telling me that truth made the difference between my receiving a blessing and letting one slip by forever.  Thank God for the friends that love us enough to push us toward a better life.  God gave us one another, let us remember to encourage the ones we love.      


Dominique said...

So, so good Christi. God has blessed me with a few friends that will tell me the truth even when it may affect my pride...thank goodness;) Sometimes we just need that redirection to receive what God has for us.

Susan said...

Christi - my wonderful friend - God must have laughed with joy when we became relatives by marriage, then next door neighbors, then mothers within weeks of each other. I don't think that God's blessings ever bless only one person, or have only one purpose, but as for me: Maybe He knew that I would never let anyone very close to me without such circumstances. Talk about pride! I didn't think that I needed any friend. And I definitely didn't think that anyone needed me. You proved me wrong. Remember how I would hole up in my house with my babies, and get depressed and not know why? And you didn't know why, but you couldn't stand to just sit there, and you had to reach out, and you reached out to me? We went places, and talked, and you always made me smile. All the while, God was loving us through each other, and teaching us many things. I am ever amazed at how God picks our friends - often those we would never choose for ourselves because we think it will only work with someone who thinks the way we do. But God knows otherwise. I'm even more amazed at how God reaches out to us through other people. How many times another person has been the messenger to answer my prayers. I'm beginning to see God always being a matchmaker - putting us together with unexpected others at unexpected times. He did what was necessary (Jesus' sacrifice for our sins) so that His Spirit can live in our hearts. And his Spirit searches us out, each one of us, and draws us together. Always together. I believe there is an enemy who always wants to isolate us. But our Father wants us all together with Him. As for you and I, you still keep me afloat when I get too deep. And it seems easy for you. I may have missed your point, and gone off on my own tangent here, but your writing got me thinking about this, and I wanted to put into words. The more I think about it, the more my joy grows - that God himself goes to such great lengths to bring us all together, and to Himself.