Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Expectations Can Be Trouble

River (RSWiley)
I've (Scott) been thinking about a Bible story lately--the story of Naaman. Do you remember it?

Naaman was a commander in the army of Aram. He was a great man with a problem. He had a skin disease. An incurable skin disease. One day, an Israelite girl who served his wife said that the prophet in Samaria (Elisha) could heal Naaman. So Naaman went to his king, who wrote a letter and sent Naaman to the king of Israel.

The king of Israel had no idea what to do. He read the letter (which asked him to cure Naaman). He tore his clothes. He worried that the other king was trying to lure him into a trap. When Elisha heard what was happening, he sent a message to the king and said to send Naaman to him. Naaman and his entourage stood at the door of Elisha's house.

Elisha sent a message down to him: "Go and wash seven times in the Jordan River and you will be clean."

Was Naaman grateful? No, he was angry! First of all the prophet didn't even come to the door himself; he sent a messenger. The prophet didn't perform a ritual or speak rich words. He just sent Naaman to the river. And it was the puny Israelite Jordan River...not the great rivers in Aram. Naaman was angry and started to leave.

Naaman's servants were more sensible. They said, "If the prophet told you to do a great thing, you would have done it. He told you to do a simple thing. So why don't you do that?"

Naaman decided to try it. He went to the Jordan River and dipped himself into it seven times. He was healed. His skin was like a young boy's skin. No scars or blemishes or disease.

Naaman had an expectation of what would happened when he went to see the prophet of God. And he almost missed a miracle.

I think my expectations are getting in my way sometimes. I expect God to direct things in certain ways. I'm sure I know what's going to happen. I see how things would work out if God would just do things the way I expect.

But things aren't like that. Sometimes I feel dejected or even a little angry. Why didn't that principal call back? Why are things like this? Why don't I hear an answer? But those are my expectations getting in the way.

What has God called me to do right now? Stay home all day and write. Set my own schedule. Sleep late and stay up late if I want or need to do so. Explore new opportunities to write and edit and monitor an online community. A chance to write whatever I want.

Are those really such difficult things to do? Actually they're about as easy as dipping into a river seven times.

Don't let expectations get in the way of what God is doing. This is a lesson I'm continuing to learn. Over and over and over. Apparently I'm a slow learner. (But that's a topic for a different post.)