Then Elisha sent him a messenger, who said, "Go wash seven times in the Jordan and your flesh will be restored and you will be clean." 2 Kings 5:10 HCSB
God has been having me do a whole lot lately, to stretch myself and to rid me of attitudes, behaviors, and unnecessary things that have hindered my journey. One thing in particular has been an increase in having difficult conversations. If you know me, I typically avoid conversations I do not want to have. I felt like if I ignored a thing long enough it would simply go away. Sadly, I realize now that it is a product of the things that happened to me growing up–I ignored, or rather, refused to acknowledge, some ugly truths until some other stimulus forced it to emerge from the cauldron. It is like boiling anything under pressure. Once the pressure builds to a high enough level, that thing is bound to boil over, and for me, it was not always pretty when it came out–but I digress, because when is the truth ever pretty?
One of my prayers has been for boldness. God in His awesomeness forced my hand with the first situation, because I had no intention of paying this thing a second thought. But God had the situation come to me, and when I got off the phone, I felt the press on my heart to say something more. I ignored it, so I woke up the next day with the words to say on my mind. All day that following day I procrastinated, but I prayed for the courage to have the conversation. Then alas after a strange series of events that following morning, now day 3, I couldn’t fight myself anymore and had the conversation. To my surprise it went well, even after what felt like haggling to finally say what God instructed me to say. So since then, I have been presented with other situations to question myself while doing something out of my comfort zone…and all have left me asking God, why do You have ME doing this?
To that, there is no obvious answer. Whether it is having a difficult conversation, swallowing a pill of your being wrong and admitting it, arguing your view, following some strange course to be healed or ignoring the need to stand up for yourself, the purpose behind all of these situations is to teach us obedience. Nowadays we live in a world where obedience is a foreign language, albeit unrecognizable for most. We have media telling us to cry mutiny against our leadership and encouraging the proliferation of violence among our children and we also have cartoons teaching children to lie and be disobedient. Radical obedience seems to be unfounded; as I thought about this earlier, I was reminded of Naaman, in 2 Kings 5, the Syrian general who was also a leper. He heard of in Samaria through one of the servants and his ability to heal him. Upon arrival, Naaman offered Elisha money to be healed. Instead, Elisha sent one of his servants to tell Naaman to wash in the Jordan 7 times. This sounds like a pretty ridiculous thing to do to Naaman, (and me also) so he got angry–and replied that there were better rivers that he could have done the same thing in. How many times have you asked God for a thing and He gave you a reply like, go apologize or give that woman $20, or something absurd in your rational, human mind?
It was not until his servants rephrased it, thus shedding light on the situation, that Naaman actually considered the solution. After washing himself those 7 times, his skin was as a child’s skin and he was clean. I do not know what God’s entire purpose was in those things I experienced, I know teaching me boldness for sure and I assume building my confidence in Him, but I also gained the understanding of why we need to be obedient. You never know if your doing that radical thing God has been pressing on your heart is the key to your breakthrough, so why not at least try? In this process, I have encountered those less than willing to hear what I had to say, but I know that my reward is in doing what I was instructed to do. And the more you are obedient, God will entrust you with more and greater tasks…consider it an honor!
For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have more than enough. But from the one who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. Matthew 25:29 HCSB