Pastor Mingo serves in 1825, a ministry for young adults ages 18-29. (Mingo couldn't tell us why it is named 1825, either!) Today Pastor Mingo delivered an amazing message about doubt and faith.
He opened by reading the story of Naaman from 2 Kings 5. The first verse reveals Naaman as the commander of the army of the king of Syria. He is called "a great man," "honorable," and "a mighty man of valor." But along with these magnificent qualities, Naaman is also afflicted with leprosy.
In the days of Naaman, a leper was a social outcast. Nobody wants to be around a leper, even a honorable high positioned man such as Naaman, for fear of contracting the disease.
Verse 2 tells us that during a raid, a girl is captured and made to be a servant to Naaman's wife. In verse 3 and 4, the girl tells Naaman that his disease can be healed by going to the prophet of her home country of Israel. So, after getting permission from his own king, Naaman goes to see the king of Israel to ask for a cure to his leprosy. In response, the king is distraught and fearful of being in conflict with Syria, tearing his clothes and saying that he is not God and therefore can't perform such miracles.
As Pastor Mingo explained, this is where the story gets really interesting. Elisha was a magnificent prophet of Israel who, through God's working, caused the dead to rise, made rain, made bears fight for him, and even made soup. (I couldn't find this event myself, but Mingo says it is there and theorized that it was the first menudo). In verse 8, the prophet Elisha tells the king of Israel to send Naaman to him to be cured.
We learn early in this story that Naaman brings riches to Israel to help buy his cure (v. 5); Pastor Mingo reported by his calculations that the riches equaled 750 pounds of silver and 150 pounds of gold. But Elisha doesn't want any of these riches as payment!
The prophet answered, "As surely as the LORD lives, whom I serve, I will not accept a thing." 2 Kings 5:16
In verse 10, Elisha's servant is sent to Naaman to tell him to wash in the Jordon River seven times. Naaman is angry with this turn of events, as he has expected Elisha to put his hands on him and rid him of his disease, not send him to a dirty river. (Here Pastor Mingo showed us pictures of the river, which is muddy and not very inviting). After hearing these instructions, Naaman begins to leave, as many of us would have undoubtedly done. At times we want something so badly that we have a hard time accepting God's alternative plan.
Before Naaman leaves, however, one of his servants convinces him to stay and try what the prophet instructed him to do. As a result, Naaman is miraculously healed!
What does this have to do with us? Often there are things we want done our way, but God has other plans-better plans, that can appear to us as inviting as a dirty, muddy river. As humans, we can have a very real struggle accepting what God wants above our own desires. But Naaman almost chose his doubt over his healing! Had he stubbornly held to his of his pride, shame, rejection, and status, he might have missed out on experiencing complete release from a horrible disease.
By wise counsel, Naaman overcame these things and was able to trust insta God's alternative plan, different from his own. Are you able to do the same? What struggle are you having with the Lord today? In what ways may you need to let go of your own plans in order to experience what God has planned for you?