Faith

Naaman learns that healing doesn’t take much faith. Naaman was a general in the Syrian army. One of his servants, a girl, had been captured and enslaved from Israel. One day she told Naaman’s wife about a prophet in Israel named Elisha that she thought would be able to cure Naaman of the leprosy that he suffered with.

Naaman approached his king and asked permission to go to Israel to find this prophet. The king granted him the permission and off he went. Finally reaching the home of Elisha, Elisha didn’t even bother to come to the door. Instead, he sent a messenger telling Naaman to “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.”

Angry, Naaman stormed off complaining that he expected the prophet to come out and call on the name of his God and wave his hand over the leprous spot. Besides, he knew that the rivers of his homeland were far better than the Jordan. Why couldn’t he just bathe in those if that’s all it took?

One of Naaman’s servants, however, told him “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’!” (2 Kings 5:13)

So, Naaman went on down to the Jordan and did what Elisha had told him to do and his leprosy was cured. From that moment on, Naaman became a worshipper of Yahweh.

Jesus pointed out that one needed faith no bigger than a mustard seed to move mountains. The quantity or even the quality of the faith seems to be unimportant. How much you think a given course of action will be successful doesn’t seem to count at all. Rather, what matters is what you put your faith in–and do you act upon it? Naaman merely went through the motions, doing what the crazy prophet told him to do. He chose to act as he was told to act. And it worked. Despite the fact that his belief mostly came after God cured him.

Whether you believe the medicine will make you better, if you believe enough to simply take it like your doctor tells you, you’ll get well. The medicine acts no matter how little you believe in it. It is putting feet to your faith that makes stuff happen. Just do it, as Nike would say. Faith is a choice; that’s all: it’s not complicated or some deep, spiritual feeling. And it comes down to this question: does God exist? Can God do what he says he’ll do? Then live accordingly. Believe what he has promised and choose to live that way.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm a deacon at Quartz Hill Community Church. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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