Today’s story from the Second Book of Kings in the Hebrew Scriptures (Ch 5: 1-15) teaches a great lesson that even Jesus used when he was talking about prophets not being accepted (LK 4). It concerns Naaman, the army commander of the king of Aram, a leper, who is advised to seek healing for his leprosy in Israel. When Elisha tells Naaman to go and wash seven times in the Jordan in order to be cleansed, Naaman becomes incensed because the directive is something so simple. He was expecting something extraordinary, like a cure on the spot when the prophet invoked his God. Luckily he had wise servants who said to him, “If the prophet had told you to do something extraordinary, would you not have done it?” They suggested he do what Elisha had directed and so he did and was healed.
Some of us keep waiting for a great experience of God’s presence to us – a miracle, a theophany, a way for us to know without a doubt that God is with us, on our side, as it were, so we can live the rest of our lives in peace and unshakeable faith. In living this way, we can easily miss the daily moments of grace that reveal God. My Christmas cactus has just put out the most glorious blossom that reminds me of the beauty of God’s creation no matter what the calendar says when it continues to be bone-chillingly cold and windy outside. We had a Taizé service for the Sophia Center last night with only 7 people which was profound for its music and for its silence, bringing God as close to us as any wildly celebrative Church service could ever do.
It’s all a question of expectations. If we expect God every day and keep our “expectant self” on tiptoe in the waiting we will lose our need for the extraordinary and be satisfied with the simple things God asks of us and gives to us in each moment of presence, each and every day of our lives.