I’m sure we’ve all had someone in our life at some point tell us this, “Don’t take the easy way out.” It usually comes at a time when we are faced with some great challenge. For a straight “A” student it could be, “Should I stay in my standard classes and get good grades or pursue honors classes and have to work harder?” The guidance counselor in this scenario probably says, “Don’t take the easy way out Susie, you need to challenge yourself.” The intentions are pure, the advice is good, but this can’t be a blanket statement to live by. What if the “easy way” is the right way? Shouldn’t we then pursue that road? It would seem that there are times in life where this advice would lead to unnecessary frustration and potential failure in what you are doing.
Do you think I’m out of my mind yet? Is the voice of your high school guidance counselor ringing in your head telling you that this particular blogger will never amount to anything if he’s not willing to challenge himself? Don’t get me wrong Mrs. Bird, I’m all about a challenge when the time is right. But, I’m also a big fan of the times when God provides seasons of rest and refreshment. Let me explain.
In 2 Kings 5:1-27 you find the story of a man named Naaman. Naaman was the commander of the army but he suffered from leprosy. Through a series of events that only God could orchestrate, Naaman finds himself in front of the servant of the prophet Elisha asking to be healed of his leprosy. Elisha sends a message through the servant saying something like, “Yea, no problem. Just go take a bath in the Jordan river and you’ll be clean.” (New Brandon Translation) Naaman gets upset and leaves. He tells his servants, “Don’t we have better rivers back home. I mean, couldn’t I take a bubble bath instead. I thought he’d a least come out and speak to me. Perhaps he could have waved his hand over me and asked his God to heal me. I was expecting something a little more unconventional and possibly weird.”
Naaman’s servant quickly steps in and becomes the hero of the story. He says in 2 Kings 5:13, “Sir, if the prophet had told you to do something very difficult, wouldn’t you have done it? So you should certainly obey him when he says simply, ‘Go and wash and be cured!’” After this, Naaman goes and dips himself in the Jordan River 7 times and guess what happens, he is healed. The Bible says his healing is so complete that his skin looks like the skin of a newborn baby.
Don’t we respond like Naaman on a regular basis? We have become a people who expect God to make us jump through hoops when we want something. When we pray, its as if we are entering a contract negotiation more than going before a loving Father. Philippians 4:6 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” What if that was the posture of our heart? What if we trusted God to take care of us? What if we went before him with prayer and thanksgiving instead of bargaining and negotiations? God loves us and wants whats best for us.
So here is the question I want to ask today: Are you missing out on blessings because you are still asking God, “What’s the catch?” Sometimes all He asks us to do is take a quick dip in the river and relax while he handles it.