God In the Ordinary

Have you ever waited for something to happen, expecting it to be spectacular?  And in the end it has turned out to be very ordinary?

2 Kings 5:1-15 (CEV)

Elisha Heals Naaman

Naaman was the commander of the Syrian army. The Lord had helped him and his troops defeat their enemies, so the king of Syria respected Naaman very much. Naaman was a brave soldier, but he had leprosy.

One day while the Syrian troops were raiding Israel, they captured a girl, and she became a servant of Naaman’s wife. Some time later the girl said, “If your husband Naaman would go to the prophet in Samaria, he would be cured of his leprosy.”

When Naaman told the king what the girl had said, the king replied, “Go ahead! I will give you a letter to take to the king of Israel.”

Naaman left and took along seven hundred fifty pounds of silver, one hundred fifty pounds of gold, and ten new outfits. He also carried the letter to the king of Israel. It said, “I am sending my servant Naaman to you. Would you cure him of his leprosy?”

When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes in fear and shouted, “That Syrian king believes I can cure this man of leprosy! Does he think I’m God with power over life and death? He must be trying to pick a fight with me.”

As soon as Elisha the prophet heard what had happened, he sent the Israelite king this message: “Why are you so afraid? Send the man to me, so that he will know there is a prophet in Israel.”

Naaman left with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house. 10 Elisha sent someone outside to say to him, “Go wash seven times in the Jordan River. Then you’ll be completely cured.”

11 But Naaman stormed off, grumbling, “Why couldn’t he come out and talk to me? I thought for sure he would stand in front of me and pray to the Lord his God, then wave his hand over my skin and cure me. 12 What about the Abana River or the Pharpar River? Those rivers in Damascus are just as good as any river in Israel. I could have washed in them and been cured.”

13 His servants went over to him and said, “Sir, if the prophet had told you to do something difficult, you would have done it. So why don’t you do what he said? Go wash and be cured.”

14 Naaman walked down to the Jordan; he waded out into the water and stooped down in it seven times, just as Elisha had told him. Right away, he was cured, and his skin became as smooth as a child’s.

15 Naaman and his officials went back to Elisha. Naaman stood in front of him and announced, “Now I know that the God of Israel is the only God in the whole world. Sir, would you please accept a gift from me?”

Naaman was looking for a grand gesture.  He expected something spectacular.  He wanted God to heal him in a very public and showy way. He felt cheated at having come all this way, and then just being told to wash in the river to be healed.  He was not prepared for gentle ease which Elisha offered him.  He wanted fireworks.

Are we sometimes guilty of looking for God only in the spectacular?  Do we want him to do amazing things with us?  Do we feel cheated and feel we’ve been offered a second best or substandard encounter with him when it is very ordinary?  Do we notice God in the ordinary, or are we too busy looking for the flash?

There is a huge culture of the “Look at Me” prevalent in society.  The emphasis on being spectacular, the centre of attention, even perhaps the one God is using/working in most.  Sometimes, no often, all God is asking of us is the ordinary life.  To be faithful in the everyday things.  In reality, not much of life is spectacular (otherwise it wouldn’t be the spectacular, that would become the ordinary).  When it is, it is amazing, but fortunately for us, God works just as much in the ordinary as he does in grand gestures.

God’s might and power are no less for working in the ordinary.  To me it is much more powerful that he is in the unspectacular – because that is where I am.

God is God of the whole world – not just the showy and the flash – and I thank God for that.

Thank you Lord,
that though you do sometimes
work in spectacular ways,
that you are very much at work
in the ordinary and understated.

Thank you that you are God of the whole world,
the tiny details,
the day-to-day humdrum of life.

Lord,
may I not miss what you are doing,
by looking for the wrong thing,
in the wrong place.

Be in the ordinary in me Lord,
in my everything,
I pray

Thanks to Merry Lizard for writing a very helpful springboard post from this.

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