Scripture (2Kings 5:9-14)
Naaman came with his horses and chariots
and stopped at the door of Elisha's house.
The prophet sent him the message:
"Go and wash seven times in the Jordan,
and your flesh will heal, and you will be clean."
But Naaman went away angry, saying,
"I thought that he would surely come out and stand there
to invoke the LORD his God,
and would move his hand over the spot,
and thus cure the leprosy.
Are not the rivers of Damascus, the Abana and the Pharpar,
better than all the waters of Israel?
Could I not wash in them and be cleansed?"
With this, he turned about in anger and left.
But his servants came up and reasoned with him.
"My father," they said,
"if the prophet had told you to do something extraordinary,
would you not have done it?
All the more now, since he said to you,
'Wash and be clean,' should you do as he said."
So Naaman went down and plunged into the Jordan seven times
at the word of the man of God.
His flesh became again like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.
I awoke one December morning to find my world spinning. I never had vertigo before, and after a half-day in bed battling severe nausea and what seemed like the worst whirling tea-cup amusement park ride I could imagine, I decided to go to the doctor. I was diagnosed with Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV).
BPPV, they say, is the most common cause of vertigo and occurs when calcium carbonate crystals that are normally embedded in gel in the utricle become dislodged and migrate to places they are not supposed to be. In other words, I had loose marbles. This sends mixed signals to the brain causing the symptoms.
I was surprised to learn the recommended treatment involved physical therapy. The good news was medication was not required and the condition was nothing serious. The bad news was that I couldn’t get in for a PT appointment until the following Monday, and it was Thursday. I had been to PT several times before for other injuries and I was mentally preparing myself to rearrange my life to accommodate PT for the next few weeks. At my one - and only - PT session, the therapist employed a maneuver caller the canalith repositioning procedure. The goal is to move the “marbles” back to the utricle where they can re-embed in the gel, dissolve, or move someplace else where they cannot cause symptoms. The procedure took just a couple minutes, was painless, and afterwards the therapist proudly and confidently exclaimed, “That should do it!” This is where I, like Naaman, got a little annoyed. “What do you mean that should do it?” I responded. “Is that all? There must be more to it! When do I have to come back again?” I exclaimed. “You don’t. You’re done!” the therapist replied. I suffered through debilitating vertigo symptoms for four days and I was cured in less than four minutes. I was expecting something different and much more magnificent. Even though, knock on wood, the vertigo left me, the experience felt oddly dissatisfying.
In today’s first reading, Naaman was angry and left expecting more than washing in the Jordan to heal his leprosy. To heal Naaman’s leprosy, and my vertigo, “I thought that he would surely come out and stand there to invoke the LORD his God.” Not only was Naaman healed, he was cleansed. God’s unconditional love flows so freely we can be cleansed of our sin even when we think we don’t deserve it. It is unfortunate we so often expect grandiose acts, mountains moved, and seas parted to feel God’s healing grace. At times, we neglect the presence of God when it seems less than extraordinary. If you are open to believing that God and the Holy Spirit exist in your life, you can be healed and cleansed in the most ordinary of ways.
- Where has God been present in the little things of your life, where perhaps you missed it because you were expecting something bigger?
- Have you neglected an opportunity to express love to someone because you thought what you had to give was too ordinary?
- When do you discount God’s will? Do you ignore Him when he says “wash and be clean?”
These Lenten reflections are written by friends of 12plus1, Inc. Discovery House a service-based gap year experience for participants ages 18-20 will begin August 2018. Please share this information with an individuals who may want to participate or support this new ministry.
FAST from judging the worth of love, kindness, and time given to you by others.
PRAY to recognize the presence of God in ordinary things.
GIVE your time, love, or money even when you think it is inadequate.
Dan Burnett is an author and masterful facilitator. He holds a degree in education and has nearly 20 years of experience in workplace learning and performance. He has worked at large for-profit and non-profit organizations. Dan has been blessed with the opportunity to conduct workshops on family, faith, leadership, education, and professional development for many local organizations. Dan is married, has two children, and resides in Waukesha County.