Easier Than We Think


2 Kings 5:9-12 (The Message)
So Naaman with his horses and chariots arrived in style and stopped at Elisha’s door. Elisha sent out a servant to meet him with this message: “Go to the River Jordan and immerse yourself seven times. Your skin will be healed and you’ll be as good as new.” Naaman lost his temper. He turned on his heel saying, “I thought he’d personally come out and meet me, call on the name of God, wave his hand over the diseased spot, and get rid of the disease. The Damascus rivers, Abana and Pharpar, are cleaner by far than any of the rivers in Israel. Why not bathe in them? I’d at least get clean.” He stomped off, mad as a hornet.

Naaman was a general for the king of Aram. You might think that a high-ranking military officer would have a life blessed with not just wealth and power, but also strength and health. But Naaman was afflicted with leprosy, a terrible disease which affects the nervous system. There is no doubt that he suffered greatly. Desperate, Naaman lowered himself to listen to the advice of a lowly maid, who told him that there was a prophet in her homeland who could heal his disease. Equipped with a letter of introduction from the king of Aram and an impressive array of gifts, he journeyed to Israel and approached Elijah’s successor, Elisha.

No matter the level of his desperation, Naaman still expected a certain amount of deference due to his status. But Elisha, who learned at the feet of Elijah, knew that true status comes from God. So, instead of meeting Naaman with gratitude and awe, Elisha sent a servant to deliver his message: “Go to the River Jordan, dip yourself in it seven times, and you’ll be healed.”

What? No magic incantations? Just go to the river and dunk down seven times? That’s it?

Naaman was not amused. He thundered off, angry and incredulous that a mere prophet would give a mighty general such a simple solution to a very difficult situation.

Sadly, like Naaman, we tend to make things needlessly complicated. God freely offers us his love — without strings. Simple, sincere, uncomplicated. Entirely, lovingly.

But we look for something more complex. We approach God with all the mistakes that we’ve made in life. In our prayers, we bring to God’s altar all our doubts, our worries, our uncertainties and fears. And God answers back: “I know. It’s all right. I love you. I forgive you. Now, come to me.” And we think, “No, it can’t possibly be that easy!” We walk away, angry and disappointed. We don’t think it’s possible that it could really be that simple. Surely, salvation must demand more than that.

But here’s the truth. God loves us, and wants to heal us. Wants to forgive us, make us clean, bring us back to the way we were originally intended to be. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

That’s it. No complications. Just pure, undiluted grace.

What does it mean to you that God wants to heal you of your deepest hurt, and to free you from all that holds you back from being the person God intended you to be: whole, conscious of God’s love, and full of joy?

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