Monday of the 3rd Week of Lent
2 Kgs 5:1-15
“…if the prophet had asked you to do something difficult, would you not have done it? All the more reason then, when he says to you, ‘Bathe and you will become clean.’”
The story of Naaman in today’s reading demonstrates several valuable lessons about humility and obedience. First and foremost, Naaman, being a powerful and successful military commander, initially reacted with anger and offense at the response (or lack thereof) from the prophet Elisha. He had expected something grand and spectacular in the healing of his leprosy and probably felt humiliated by the simplicity of the solution. Thanks to the reasoning from his servants, Naaman ultimately humbled himself and followed the prophet’s instructions which led to his healing. In addition, it must have appeared to be demeaning to adhere to Elisha’s orders and much more so, having to back down and heed the advice from his servants after his angry outburst. We might argue that this stemmed from his desperate desire to be cured of leprosy; on the other hand, perhaps it was Naaman’s act of obedience to the prophet’s instructions and God’s commands that led to his change in attitude. I believed most of us would agree on the importance of humility and obedience which resulted in Naaman’s deliverance from leprosy, but what about his biasness toward simplicity and the prejudice on its efficacy?
Complexity bias is a logical fallacy that leads us to give undue credence to complex solutions. Faced with two competing hypotheses, humans tend to choose the most complex methodology. The same occurred to Naaman when he rationalized the quality of the waters used for cleansing between the rivers of Damascus versus that of the Jordan river. By opting for complexity, we often sidestep the need to truly understand the fundamental problem at hand and presume that an effort to overkill will derive a better result. Fortunately, God does not rationalize the way humans do. The simplicity of Elisha’s solution is a divine reminder that our strength and abilities come from God and He is the only one in control. By acknowledging our own limitations and the imperfections of our complex solutions, we are also opening ourselves to avenues for personal growth and improved relationships when we accept the help and advice of others in difficult or uncomfortable situations.
In summary, the story of Naaman not only serves as a reminder to us to be humble, obedient and faithful, but it also highlights the importance on the willingness to change and to be grateful for the help and guidance that we receive. God’s answer to our prayers can be simple because He knows what we need and what is best for us. Being omniscient and omnipresent, it would be foolish of us to be questioning His plans, even when they appear to deviate from the norm. Such lessons have a timeless relevance that can help us to navigate the challenges and difficulties of our present lives.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Dylan Tan)
Prayer: Lord Jesus, we pray for a heart of humility and willingness to align to your greater purpose than merely our own gains. We pray that you will lead us to what it truly means to live a humble life, and that our own worth will be revealed by your Light. It is only then that we may truly live in freedom and right standing. We make this prayer in your precious name. Amen.
Thanksgiving: Thank you Father, for uniting us to the affection of your love, in spite of our utter unworthiness. Thank you for sowing the seed of humility in us and granting endless mercy and compassion.
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