Many mission organizations operate on a model of financial support raising. Missionaries trust God to provide what they need to live and work in their mission field, but their prayers are married to steps of faith and obedience: they ask people to give.
We don’t naturally expect God to answer prayer in this way, do we? It’s easy to envision God’s answer coming through sudden intervention: poof! the disease is healed or the money’s on the doorstep. At times God does work like this, but Scripture and life experience both affirm that God rarely acts as we expect.
In 2 Kings 5, Naaman, a Syrian army commander, experienced this firsthand. Naaman was a leper, and when told that the Israelite prophet Elisha could cure him, he arranged a visit. Naaman is shocked at the response he gets at Elisha’s door. The prophet doesn’t even show, instead sending a messenger who tells Naaman to wash in the Jordan seven times.
Naaman reacts with rage, and as he vents his frustration he reveals his expectation: “I thought he would surely come out … and call upon the name of the LORD his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure the leper.” He likely anticipated special attention based on his lofty position. He certainly didn’t expect to be told to go do something.
Thankfully for Naaman, level-headed servants persuaded him to follow the instructions, and his leprosy was healed. And to be clear, Naaman’s healing was from God. Bathing in the Jordan was a step of faith, like the financial support appeals missionaries make. God uses these steps to produce growth and fruit in our lives, not just to answer the specific prayer.
What have you been asking of God? Healing? Guidance? Rescue? For a neighbor or loved one to come to know Jesus? As you pray, what step of faith might God be inviting you to take?
Lord, thank you that you hear and answer our prayers, even when those answers aren’t necessarily what we expect or want. Open my eyes to see the steps of obedient faith you might have for me to take as part of your answer to my prayers, and give me the strength by your Spirit to follow through. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Throughout This Day: Invite the Spirit to guide you in his will as you prayerfully offer this day to him.
Note from editor: This ministry exists because of the generous investments of a growing team of donors. Would you prayerfully ask God if he would be calling you to give to our ministry?
Photo Credit: Oliver Hihn on Unsplash