When I saw it from the car window, I burst into tears. "This, God? This is where you want me to live?"
The Choice to Say "Yes"
Newly engaged and ready to take on the world, my soon-to-be husband and I were touring the city that would become our new home. I was fresh off a year of exponential growth in my faith having spent the year in a ministry leadership position. Strong Christian women had poured into me and called out my leadership skills, and I had seen God move in miraculous ways in the lives of the women I served every day.
I was 100% sure that God had called me to serve women in unplanned pregnancies, but the city we were moving to didn't have a pregnancy center. Actually, the city we were moving to didn't have much of anything except a grocery store, a school, and a couple of churches. I simply couldn't believe God would take me off of the mountain top I'd been on for a year and force me to stoop down to the likes of that city. Didn't He know who I was?
One weekend, while my fiance and I were visiting the city looking for a place to live, I decided to try out one of the churches. I was thoroughly annoyed with God that morning (which in southern girl terms means whiney), and plopped my hiney down on the cushioned chair feeling like I'd rather be anywhere but this city.
In the River
The biblical text that morning came from the book of 2 Kings chapter five . . the story of Naaman and Elisha.
Naaman was a great military hero for a country fighting against God's people, the Israelites. His military victories had made him a favorite of the king and the scripture seems to indicate that he was a brave man, full of valor. But he had leprosy, a horrible skin disease that would have eventually killed him.
Through a turn of events clearly orchestrated by God, Naaman found himself on a journey into Israelite territory to meet the great prophet Elisha to ask for healing.
Naaman came bearing gifts fit for a man of his rank and esteem with the king, knocked on Elisha's door, and was surprised when a servant answered instead of the prophet. His directions for Naaman from Elisha?
“Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored, and you shall be clean.” (2 Kings 5:10)
This request apparently beneath a man of his caliber, Naaman got mad and almost missed his healing. But a servant begged him to heed Elisha's wishes. And after dipping seven times in the Jordan's muddy water, Naaman's skin was totally and radically healed, soft as a child's.
My Jordan River
I sat in stunned silence as the preacher told the story. For all of my "exponential growth" as a Christian, I had somehow missed the Old Testament story of Naaman and Elisha. But as I listened to it for the first time, I could see my heart reflected in Naaman's. My pride was his pride, and I didn't want to dip myself in "the dirty river" that God had chosen to be my home.
I thought that little town was beneath me. It looked unfit for the ministry of someone who had so much potential and a specific calling from God.
I could throw up now even writing those pompous and self-righteous words. I almost missed God because I couldn't see past my own pride, too wrapped up in my own value to see God's humble hand in my life.
Can you relate?
Has God ever asked you to do something you thought was beneath you? Something that seemed to be a detour off of the straight and narrow path to your dreams or calling in life?
Join me Tuesday June 12th as we explore five important lessons that encourage us to say "yes" to God.
Church Photo Credit