A Closer Walk
A new year is upon us! Did you accomplish all you meant to last year? Likely not. How about prayers? Do you have some prayer requests from last year that remain unanswered? Let not your heart be troubled. Perhaps the time was not right for God's answer. Or maybe His answer was, "No". If He did answer "No," remember the adage, "Never put a question mark where God has put a period," (author unknown).
But also remember that the Apostle Paul entreated the Lord three times to remove Paul's "thorn in the flesh". Paul continued to entreat, up until the point that God gave Him a definite answer. So before we give up on a prayer we have been taking before the Throne of Grace, we should try to be certain it was answered.
Sometimes there are things that need to be done before a prayer is answered. In 2 Kings 5:1-14 we see the story of Naaman, a Captain in the Aramean army. He is a valiant warrior, highly regarded by his king, but he is a leper. Because of his wife's little servant girl he is made aware that there is a prophet in Israel who could heal him of his leprosy. Through a series of events, and with help from other people, Naaman and his entourage make their way to Israel and arrive at the house of Elisha the prophet. Elisha's servant comes out to him with instructions: “...Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored to you and you shall be clean,” 1 Kings 5:10 NASB.
“But Naaman was furious and went away and said, 'Behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place, and cure the leper',” 1 Kings 5:11 NASB. Naaman continues his tirade and states there are two rivers at home that are better than the Jordan. “...So he turned and went away in a rage,” 1 Kings 5:12 NASB.
“Then his servants came near and spoke to him and said, 'My father, had the prophet told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, “Wash and be clean”?,' 2 Kings 5:13 NASB. “So he went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God; and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean,” 2 Kings 5:14 NASB.
What can we learn from this episode involving Naaman? Well, first, if God has given us specific instructions, it is usually a good idea to follow them or carry them out. Second, don't lose faith. The servant told Naaman to wash himself seven times. His healing did not come after the first washing, nor after the third, or the fifth. His healing came only after washing himself seven times. Seven times. Seem a little redundant? Yet, that was the instruction. Seems pretty simple, right?
If unanswered prayers remain, perhaps our Lord wants to know if we will follow simple instructions. Maybe he desires to see if we will hold onto our faith. Our God can do a multitude of things. Sometimes He desires that we do things also.