There’s an old joke about a faithful disciple who is drowning in a flood. As the water rises, he prays, “God, I believe in you and I know that you’re going to save me!” Several vessels come and offer help: first a rowboat, then a yacht, and finally a rescue helicopter. He rejects each of them, saying, “God is going to save me!” After he drowns, he faces God in heaven and asks, “God, why didn’t you save me?” God responds, “I sent you a rowboat, a yacht, and a helicopter! What else did you expect?”
In today’s passage, Naaman is the man of faith who almost misses out on his blessing because it doesn’t come in the way he expects. He has finally tracked down the great prophet that he first heard of from his slave girl. He seemingly expects a grand gesture from the prophet that will reveal God’s power in a mighty way. He cannot hide his disappointment when Elisha tells him to go take a bath. “Are you kidding me? I came all this way and brought all this treasure for this?”
When have we prayed for a sign or miracle from God, only to experience disappointment or unsureness when it arrived? Perhaps we asked God to give us a sign to affirm a decision or to deliver us from a financial or health burden. We wanted to receive some flashy token so we could brag to others. And all we received was an inner sense of peace over our decision, a referral to a good physician, or an overdue payment that finally came. Our passage today reminds us that those quiet blessings are just as much God’s work as the flashy works of power.
Lord, attune our ears and eyes to the quiet ways that you work in our lives everyday, and instill within us an ever-present spirit of thankfulness. Amen.