Imagine a child whose parents tell him to do something a certain way, but he decides to do it his own way—and with disastrous results. In a situation like this, good parents will encourage and reason with the child until he changes his mind. And then the child is surprised at how successfully and effectively he completes the task. If only he had listened to his parents in the first place.
In a similar way, the account of Naaman’s cure shows us how God works to direct us away from relying on our own ideas and the ways of the world, so that we can learn the blessings of doing things his way.
When Elisha told Naaman to do something that seemed too ordinary Naaman “went away angry”. Why did he travel all this way just to be told to dunk himself seven times in a dirty river? He could have stayed home and enjoyed the soothing, clean waters of the rivers of Damascus.
Thank goodness Naaman’s servants acted as his conscience. They reasoned with him and persuaded him to change his mind. In a sense, they brought him to repentance, for Naaman humbled himself; he turned back to the word of God, and was miraculously healed. This one simple choice led him into a deeper and closer relationship with God.
In just the same way, God wants to guide our lives. Sometimes we find this guidance in prayer, sometimes in reading Scripture or a good book, or in a homily. Sometimes it comes through the will of a superior. If we follow Naaman’s example of humility, then we can look forward to the Holy Spirit transforming us and leading us into a deeper and closer relationship with God.