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An Unexpected Outcome

25 Jun 2021 | Lt. j.g. Jesse McAlexander Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune

The Old Testament is full of accounts that you may have learned in Sunday School growing up, but the story of Naaman, found in 2 Kings 5:1-19, is a unique account of God’s grace and provision for a most unlikely individual. Naaman was an Assyrian commander. He was known as a mighty warrior and the king’s right hand man, but there was one issue that threatened everything in his life. He had contracted a skin disease that if untreated would isolate him from everyone and eventually kill him.

I imagine that in Naaman’s situation, he may have tried anything and everything, yet nothing helped. Noticing his desperation, his wife’s servant, a young Israelite girl, tells him of a prophet in Israel who can do miracles and heal him. This is great news, but there is one major problem, the nations of Israel and Assyria are enemies.

Without any other options he heads for Israel with an entourage of men and enough gold and silver to make Jeff Bezos blush. When he arrives in Israel and finds the location of the prophet Elisha, he is met by Elisha’s messenger who tells him in order to be healed, all he needs to do is dip himself in the Jordan River seven times. Naaman becomes offended when the prophet doesn't even come to meet him, and beyond that tells him all he has to do is dip himself in a small unimpressive river. Anyone could do that!

In a rage he starts his return to Assyria, but his men convince him to try what the prophet said. With nothing to lose he goes and he dips himself in the water. To his surprise after emerging from the water the 7th time, he was completely healed. The text even says that his skin was like that of a young child.

This is only half the story, but maybe as you read my paraphrase here or the whole account in your Bible, you can identify with Naaman. Perhaps you don't have a fatal skin condition, but maybe you’re in a situation that seems like there is no hope. Maybe you didn't grow up with a family that cared for you, maybe you've been rejected by friends for a romantic partner, maybe you didn't get that job you wanted, or maybe you have been dealing with some sin in your life and you’re not sure that what you have done could ever be forgiven and so you let that guilt or shame hold you back from drawing close to God.

When we face these kinds of things, God is with us. We might desire to do things our way. We may think money will solve our problems. But as was the case with Naaman, God offers his grace to those who don’t deserve it and he offers forgiveness to everyone. The best part is, he doesn't first require an arduous task from us. Like Naaman, and countless others who have come to the Lord with secret wounds or burdens, when we place our faith in God, and respond in obedience, we too will be healed and receive eternal life.

The Chaplain’s Corner covers everything faith related. Facts not attributed are purely the opinion of the writer.