Naaman

Steve Arterburn

Situations that are out of your control will show whether you’re operating with pride and self-sufficiency or with humility and dependence on God.  If you’re willing to humbly depend on God and recognize you inability to handle everything on your own, you’ll see the power of God bring great changes in your life.  

The experience of a man named Naaman illustrates how this is true.  Naaman was a powerful military and political figure, a man of wealth, position, and power.  He also had leprosy, an incurable disease that would slowly destroy his body.  Lepers were made outcasts from their families and society.  Ultimately, they faced a slow, painful, and disgraceful death.

But Naaman heard that there was a prophet in Israel who could heal him.  He found the prophet and was told that in order to be healed he needed to dip himself seven times in the Jordan River.  He went away outraged, having expected his power and money to buy him an instant and easy cure.  In the end, however, he acknowledged that this situation was beyond his control.  Humility was the key that caused Naaman to surrender to God, follow his instructions, and receive the healing that only God could give him.  

Humility should not be confused with humiliation.  God doesn’t allow you to face situations beyond your control in order to humiliate you.  He does so to draw you to himself and lead you to healing and spiritual renewal.

Honesty and Forgiveness

Steve Arterburn

Emotions are a funny thing. We all know what they are, but where do they come from? They seem to flow from the core of your being, from deep down inside. And if you’ve developed the pattern of denying or hiding your feelings, you’ll lose the very sense of who you really are—who God created you to be.  Don’t believe me?  Consider the prophet Jeremiah.

When you read the Old Testament book of Lamentations, which Jeremiah wrote, you’ll see that you have nothing to fear about bringing even your most raw or maybe what you think are embarrassing emotions to God.

Jeremiah was intensely honest in sharing his broken heart with God.  But what follows his grief?  When Jeremiah finished his grieving, he turned to God to seek forgiveness.  The book ends with a question of remorse: ‘Are you angry with us still?’ the prophet asks.  Have you ever asked that question?  Behind this question is Jeremiah’s humility, coupled with his hope that God will start the process toward reconciliation and forgiveness.  Jeremiah knew God’s heart, so he knew that God would forgive.  If you truly repent of your sin, you can be sure that God will forgive you too—no matter how great your sins and failures.  You need to come humbly before him and place your life in his strong, gentle hands.

The Wait

Steve Arterburn

Do you find waiting tough?  Most twenty-first century people do.  We don’t want to wait in traffic, wait in line, wait for the economy, or wait for a table. So the thought of waiting on God sets us back on our heels. We think our timing is what matters and then God says, ‘Wait!’ and it can be especially difficult to wait on God.  

Look at this great promise from the prophet, Isaiah. ‘Those who wait on the Lord will find new strength.  They will fly high on wings like eagles.  They will run and not grow weary.  They will walk and not grow faint’ (40:31).  And the prophet, Jeremiah, said, ‘The Lord is wonderfully good to those who wait for him and seek him.  

The Lord will reward you for waiting upon him.  You can remain calm when it appears that nothing is happening when you think it should. Waiting is a response contrary to the ways of the world. But when you learn to wait, you’ll find the winds of adversity will lift you up, like wind beneath the wings of an eagle, instead of knocking you down.  As you develop a patient faith in God, you will be able to endure to the end of the race’and win.  As you seek God and wait on Him to complete His work in your life, you will be find strength. Try it and see!