It has been a busy morning this morning, but the moment that I decided to put things aside and sit at His feet brought peace and stillness. I was thinking that a break from treatment would be great – just not to have to have chemo or radiation for a week or two. If at the halfway mark I feel this way, how must people feel that have been on this journey for months, some for years. If I was to have a break, then I would have to make up that time so instead of being one week ahead I would be a week behind.
I want to reprimand myself for these thoughts, but they are human and not destructive or negative – realistic and honest. Tomorrow is chemo four, just two left after that. Time has passed so quickly and this makes me aware of how important it is that we use our time effectively, no matter what you do you should fill each moment with purpose, God and love. This will lead to peace, joy and all things. There is a poem in the oncology ward about time. The poet mentions all the things that need to be done, dusting and cleaning and making the house spick and span. Then their thoughts move to those that they love and cherish and how important it is to spend time with them, not with the duster. The closing line is from dust we were created and to dust we will return. Umm… the cycle of life.
Many people have asked me a question. “If you say that you are healed, how come you are faced with treatment?” The fact of the matter is that they wanted to remove my bladder and create a pseudo bladder, this would mean that I would not have an outer bag, but one inside that still needed to be emptied with a catheter. This was not a pleasant thought and after prayer we received a promise that no part of me would be removed, that this would be a time of blessing and that the journey that I was about to walk would take me into a deeper place with Him. So, we faced the urologist and told him that we would not be opting for removal. He strongly advised me to reconsider, but as a step of faith I held fast to the promise and opted for the treatment. So I faced the road of chemo and radiation.
My reading today was in 2 Kings 5. This is the recording of Naaman and Elisha. The background is that Naaman was a great commander, the right-hand man to the king. The king use to lean on him. The king relies on Naaman so much that he sends a letter and gifts to Elisha because he wants him to be healed. Naaman was a man of wealth, he was short of nothing – besides faith 🙂
Elisha was the prophet, he had a double anointing from YHWH and a very close walk of obedience and faith. He realised who Naaman was, he knew of his power and position, but he honoured God above all. He had confidence in his own standing in the Kingdom.
There was a political scene as Aram was a neighbour to Israel. There had been Aramean raids and when the king of Israel received this letter he thought that is may be an ambush. He was thinking about what would happen if Naaman was not healed, would that lead to more raids. All in all a complex situation.
Naaman wants to be healed. He knows that the disease will lead to his destruction, he would be ex-communicated and cast out. He had everything to lose. He is so desperate that he listens to a servant girl. How amazing is our King that He places people in our lives that show us the way! The king is so fond of Naaman that he wants him to be made well, he relies on him. Naaman sets off, with high expectations of meeting this man of God. He is a man who is accustomed to fanfare and respect.
Elisha is aware that the leprosy is an outer illness, but that there is something deeper within Naaman that needs healing. Elisha does not come to meet Naaman, he simply sends a messenger to meet him. The message is simple, “Go and wash yourself in the Jordan River, and wash seven times.” The healing that needed to take place was not only physical, but spiritual too. Naaman was full of pride, aware of himself, his position and standing, his wealth – in short full of self-importance. This is evident in his reaction to the message.
We are left questioning how much Naaman needs healing, how deeply does he want to be well again? He fussed and became offended by the fact that Elisha did not even appear before him – he was Naaman, the kings right-hand man. He had thought that this man of God would approach him and wave his hand over Naaman. Washing in a murky river? You want me to do what???? Is his pride greater than his desire to be healed?
YHWH is able to heal us with a wave of a hand, but there has to be some effort from your side too. Think of the healings that Yeshua preformed, in all of them there was some form of faith needed by the sick person – washing eyes in the pool, picking up a mat, coming out of the tomb. These all required effort and faith. Naaman already believed that God worked through Elisha and that He could heal. His faith was there, it was just that he didn’t expect that he would have to do something ‘beneath’ him to receive the healing.
You see, what Naaman had to do to receive his healing was to get out of his clothes, he had to remove his rank and wealth. Naaman had to expose his condition to those around him, he would be making himself vulnerable. Naaman had to lay who he was in the Aramean kingdom on the muddy banks of the Jordan, he had to immerse himself in the water, not just stand on the side and splash. This meant he had to deal with his pride issue, he had to humble himself before YHWH, he had to take up his cross and sacrifice his position and standing before the King of Kings.
There is a truth here about revealing who we really are. We all hide behind our Sunday best and bling that is dictated by the world. We often become unwillingly distracted by our ‘dressings’, position and importance. Before you know it we have grown an attitude of pride – if this has offended you, then take a closer look.
Naaman was not impressed by the thought of ‘lowering’ himself, physically and spiritually, into the river. He thought that the Jordan River was not good enough for him, by his standards there were better rivers at home – he still did not get it. The healing of his skin is a pun, he was healed skin-deep. The true healing was in the secret place, his heart. His pride was blocking his physical healing and until he was willing to lay himself aside he would not receive the healing – we can see that he was going to lose it all if he didn’t humble himself in any case. Naaman had a choice to make, he could strip off or get back on his mule and take his ridden body back home.
At this stage we are introduced to a brave officer – the voice of reason. An officer from the ranks and I believe placed there by the King of Kings to guide this stubborn and proud commander. How often do we ignore the voice of reason? Often pride dictates that we must have something to boast about to build us up, we went through this and that to get where we are. We have to be able to point out that because we are who we are this happened, or that we did it in our own strength/brainpower/expertise or wisdom. This boosts our pride and allows us to relate to our success. Naaman changes his mind after listening to the officer. Like us I am sure he realised he was being silly, he was desperate and the voice of reason made him come to his senses. He had come so far and to have turned around because he did not want to do a simple dipping would have been ridiculous, yet it is so simple. He must have been so itchy and sore, the dust and travelling would not have made this journey easy for him.
In verse 14 we read, “So Naaman went down to the Jordan River and dipped himself seven times as the man of God had instructed. And his flesh became as healthy as a young child’s, and he was healed.” There is a double healing here!!! His flesh is healed and his inner is healed. AMEN. Naaman submitted, he obeyed YHWH and he was made whole. He was healed not because of his authority, strength or standing – Naaman was healed by the power of an Awesome God. He realises this and commits to serving God above all.
Naaman is buzzing and is so excited that he goes back to pay Elisha. He puts a price on his healing of 340 kg of pure silver, 68 kg of pure gold and 10 sets of clothes. Naaman is so grateful but he needs to learn another lesson from Elisha. Elisha refuses the gifts, he redirects the glory and esteem to YHWH. Elisha shows humility and acknowledges the strength of God, he does not claim any esteem or glory for himself. Wow!
I have always maintained that I had spiritual cancer. I was so wrapped up in my own world, my position at school, my studies, running, body. I had all the trappings of Sunday best, smiles and bling – where was God? I needed to be woken up, to be taken to the river and asked to dip myself in humility and obedience. Oh boy, am I so glad that He took me there, that I am on this journey with Him. How come I have to face treatment? Well, sometimes we have to heal the inner to heal the outer. I love the Healer of my soul, all the glory and honour to Him. May you come before the Stream of Living Water and immerse yourself, stripping off all and dipping into the everlasting waters. Amen