So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy. – 2 Kings 5:14
Naaman had Leprosy. One would think that he would be wiling to do whatever he had to destroy this skin condition that would slowly and literally eat him alive. However, this was not the case. When Elisha sent a servant to tell Naaman exactly what he needed to do, he became angry. Cleansing did not come like he thought it should, so Naaman almost rejected healing.
I wonder what Naaman thought the first six times he dipped himself. Did he look at his skin after the third time and not see a difference? Did he say to himself, “This is stupid and pointless”? Or maybe, “If this God is so awesome, why can’t He do it the first time”?
Which raises a great question: Why does God sometimes require so many times? I mean Jericho had to be marched around seven times before the wall fell. How did they feel when nothing happened the first six days? Did any of them quit showing up within those first six days?
I pleaded with God to save me and make me whole when I was sixteen. Even though it was a wonderful feeling that I’ll never forget, I was absolutely no different afterwards. This worried me. I thought I would just automatically be different. I got “saved” again with the same results. Then, I got saved again, again, and again. This went on for quite a few years. If anything, I was getting worse spiritually, not better.
True, and lasting change eluded me. I began to wonder if I had “blasphemed the Holy Spirit,” (Matthew 12:31) or maybe God just chose to reject me because I knew better and still chose the wide gate that leads to destruction a few too many times. (Matthew 7:13-14)
Oh the glorious day when it all changed! That wonderful day the old Adam died! That wonderful day where all things became new! It must have been well over the hundredth time I had tried. What was different about this time? What if I’d stopped one time short? On that day I stopped living my way and asked Him to place me on His lighted path. I had never read His Holy Word for myself. Sure, I’d listen to the preachers talk about it on Sunday, but never even considered studying it for myself. Nearly every day for 15 months I read The Bible a little bit at a time until I had read it all.
I didn’t know it, but I was daily dipping myself in His cleansing waters. Even today, I don’t know how He did it, I don’t even know when He did it, but somewhere during that 15-month period He washed this old sinner and made him brand new. I know how Naaman felt on that glorious day when his flesh was restored. But, I still can’t help but wonder, “What if he had quit after 6 dips in that Jordan River?”
The answer: He would not have been made clean.
I believe God allows this sort of forced perseverance to weed out the quitters who are really only looking for Him to be one more resource who gratifies their worldly desires. If I need healing, I’ll call on Him. If I need a job, I’ll call on Him. If I’m in a bad situation, I’ll call on Him. If I’m lonely, I’ll call on Him. As soon as God refuses instant gratification, most people are done with Him. I’ve heard people say things like, “I tried Christianity and it just didn’t work for me.” Others go as far as to deny His very existence, simply because He doesn’t do instant.
In reality, they just quit prematurely. What would have happened if, instead of quitting, they had continued to dip themselves in the water of the Word of God?
The Israelites who saw the walls fall down on the seventh day had one thing in common; they did not quit!
Naaman saw his leprosy removed for one reason; he didn’t quit dipping himself when the first six dips didn’t work.
If you want to see God do an amazing work in your own life . . . Don’t quit!
Never, ever quit!
“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” — Philippians 3:14