My Magical Thinking
Naaman was angry and went away, saying, “Behold, I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call upon the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure the leper.” 2 Kings 5:11
Most of us, have at one time or another, gone to God, asking for instant, miraculous change. God, take my alcoholism. Take my anxiety. Make me skinny. Give me patience.
In the misery of my addiction, I wanted freedom and I believed God was the answer, but I wasn’t quite sure what that meant. I knew what I wanted it to mean. I wanted God to change me without any cost to me.
Today’s story of Naaman has greatly helped me understand the error in my magical thinking. In the story, Naaman, a commander in the Syrian army, suffered from leprosy. The King of Syria heard that an Israelite prophet – Elisha – could heal him, so he sent Naaman to Israel to see Elisha.
Before Naaman even met the prophet, Elisha sent a messenger to deliver his prescription. If Naaman wanted to be healed, he must wash in the Jordan River seven times. Naaman was offended. Elisha should have come himself to heal me with a magical wave of his hand. Wash in the river? That’s stupid. I’m not doing that.
I did the same thing. I went to God, expecting magical, instant healing. God told me to confess, go to treatment, deny myself and follow Him. That’s stupid. I’m not doing that.
I refused to listen, and I remained in my addiction. It was not until I obeyed that I found recovery. I’m not claiming that I got sober on my own. God worked miracles in me, but He did not do so until, like Naaman, I obeyed His command.
Most of us have done this. We think obedience is getting sober or knowing success over our struggle, but the sobriety or success is often the byproduct of obedience. Whenever we struggle, which is often, we must go to God, asking Him what it is we must do. Then, we must do it.