By Felichi Pangilinan-Buizon, co-host, The 700 Club Asia
Once I had to do something I’d rather not, it was so tempting to complain. Thankfully, I remembered my Scripture reading for that day. It was the story of Naaman, a general of the Syrian army, a mighty man of valor, esteemed by men, even by the king, but he was struck with leprosy. At that time, there was no known cure.
Upon learning of Elisha, a prophet in Israel with the gift to heal, he went to see him. Elisha, through his servant, instructed Naaman to do something that did not sink well with him: “Go wash in the Jordan seven times and his flesh shall be restored.” Have you ever been led to do something that is repulsive to you?
Naaman was furious. He expected to be treated better. He had expected Elisha, and not his servant, to face him. He complained that there were cleaner rivers to bathe in. Obviously, Naaman was not comfortable with the task and doubted its efficacy. Fortunate for him, his own servant reasoned with him, “If the prophet told you to do something great, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, ‘Wash and be clean?’”
These words found in 2 Kings 5:13 left a deep impression on me, addressing a current issue in my heart. Often, I become more excited over big assignments, tasks that will benefit more people over tasks that will benefit just a few. Tasks that require the exercise of my strengths are most often what I am drawn to. I have preference for them over the mundane, the menial yet, unavoidably necessary.
To be more specific, some of the tasks that I find draining are waiting, accounting, pet-sitting especially cleaning after the dog, certain housework, even untying a stubborn knot can easily break my peace! I remember Elizabeth Elliot’s “Whatever happens, God has assigned.” But honestly, assignments that move me out of my area of comfort or competency or those that arise unexpectedly, I generally, resist.
In Namaan’s case, the thing he despised was the very thing that would deliver him from his impossible situation. Could it be the same for me? Could it be that the unwanted situations and tasks are the very things that would bring me blessing? Cleansing? Deliverance? It has, for instance, made me aware of how proud I am. Too proud to be inconvenienced! Forgive my arrogance, Lord! Did not the King touch dirt to make a blind man see? Did He not spend time with the outcasts? Did He not wash the feet of His friends? As I examine my life, undeniably, God has used many undesirable situations to rid me of ungodly perceptions and ways of thinking. Perhaps if I change my view on lesser things and remember that Jesus is my example, knowing He is both God of highlights and of details, my resistance will give in to submission. Is not the Lord of my life, Lord of its details, pleasant or not? Only in agreeing will I experience the power of stepping out in faith.
Isaiah reminds us that God’s ways are not our ways; His remedies are not man’s remedies. Many times, I am puzzled by the Lord’s strategy to make things right, as Naaman was. But as I believe and let Him have His way with me, I begin to see how just and marvelous His ways are. Similarly, it was only when Naaman’s resistance melted, when he let go and let God, that he experienced God’s miraculous work.
I pray that even as I am energized by commendable tasks I will not despise small things and instead look forward to how lesser things can be God’s studio for His finest work.