Who prays for something and then rejects the very thing for which they prayed…especially when it is within arms reach? Crazy right? But we do it unintentionally all the time.
The day in which we live, many families, my own included, are praying and believing for additional provision. Let’s face it, the days in which we live very little remains certain.
The economy is constantly changing. Oil and gas prices tell that story where prices can jump up or down by ten to fifteen cents from one day to the next. A job that at one time looked to be completely secure and a place for retirement is suddenly eliminated or threatened with elimination.
Turbulent times should send us to prayer and compel us as never before to turn to the Lord, our Shepherd. Ultimately, He is our true Provider and Protector.
It is important as we pray and watch for God’s provision, that we are careful that we don’t accidentally reject that provision unknowingly.
It happens all the time and too often we may not even recognize we have missed the answer for which we so earnestly prayed.
I talked with a friend recently. Reni was highly skilled and paid well at her job. Unfortunately her present position was only part-time. “I really need to get another part-time position to make up the difference,” she shared with me.
I immediately put Reni in contact with a friend I knew that might be able to help. He worked with numerous companies in our local area to help match employers with new employees. He was gifted at talking with individuals, discerning their gifts and background and then helping them reposition for jobs in areas they had never considered. Reni’s skill set was in such a niche area, I knew this could be an answer to her prayer for her to broaden her scope.
A phone meeting was arranged which I hoped would result in that part-time employment she desired. It could have, but it didn’t.
“I will never work with that man. Never!” Reni declared emphatically after she met with him on the phone.
“What happened?” I asked surprised at her response
“All he did was put me down. He wanted to me to consider areas that would never work for me and I refuse to work with someone like that!”
Almost as soon as I hung up from my conversation with Reni, I received a call from Scott, my friend who had tried to help her expand her employment options. He understood the conversation had not gone well, and wanted to let me know what happened since I had been the point of introduction for the two.
“I really feel sorry for Reni,” he began. She has skills all right, but she is completely closed and was offended to any suggestion beyond her comfort zone and present position. I tried to talk with her about positions where she had worked in the past and discuss why some of those areas didn’t worked well now in today’s marketplace, but she completely shut me down. She’s not really looking for help. She just wants what she wants,” he explained. “I’m sorry I can’t help someone who isn’t open to help,” he apologized before disconnecting.
Unknowingly, Reni had missed her answer because she didn’t like the package.
Two conversations. Two very different takes. As I prayed about the situation I asked God why someone would refuse the very thing for which they had prayed.
“Because they were looking for the provision from their perspective, rather than Mine. They missed what I was doing because it didn’t fit their expectation. Their pride got in the way of My provision.”
In that moment, I was reminded of Naaman, captain for the king of Syria in biblical days. Naaman “was a great man with his master, and honorable, because by him the Lord had given deliverance unto Syria: he was also a mighty man in valour, but he was a leper” (I Kings 5:1 KJV).
Naaman was an important man…a leader. But a leader with a great need. Naaman was seeking help–a place of provision. He needed to be healed from leprosy. What Naaman needed was a miracle.
But would he receive his answer, because it came in a package he almost refused.
We often don’t see how God works behind the scenes to bring people together or opportunities across our paths. That was certainly the case for Naaman, for a young servant girl that worked for his wife, who had come into their service recently was part of the answer that would start him on the journey to his miracle.
“Now bands of raiders from Aram had gone out and had taken captive a young girl from Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. She said to her mistress, ‘If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy’” (2 Kings 5:2 NIV).
At first the captain was excited and expectant. Expectation and faith is the right combination needed to create the fertile soil for a miracle. Naaman was in position to receive.
Next, he acted on that faith and expectation. He took the next step in his journey to meet with Elisha. The only question was, would he be willing to follow all the way through on that journey to receive the miracle?
“So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house. Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, ‘Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed’” (2 Kings 5:9-10 NIV).
The steps to Naaman’s miracle provision didn’t come in the package Naaman expected, and so he stalked away in anger.
“But Naaman became furious, and went away and said, “Indeed, I said to myself, ‘He will surely come out to me, and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place, and heal the leprosy’” (2 Kings 5:11 NKJV).
Isn’t that what we all desire? For God to just wave His ‘magic wand’ and provide for us as we know He can. We want to walk out our front door and find our manna from heaven.
While we all know He can provide in that way, He often doesn’t. Why? Because ultimately God works from the bigger picture we don’t always see.
Often times, it’s not just about the provision, but how He desires to refine and purify us to walk in faith and humility. It’s the process not just the package, so that He can use us in greater ways. The question is, are we willing?
In his pride, which manifested in anger, Naaman refused the provision provided through Elisha’s simple instruction. He refused the very miracle for which he had prayed.
Why? Because it didn’t come in the package he expected or desired. Naaman almost missed his miracle.
Thank God there was someone who cared enough to have the courage to speak up and speak into his life.
“And his servants came near and spoke to him, and said, ‘My father, if the prophet had told you to do something great, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, ‘Wash, and be clean?’” (2 Kings 5:13 NKJV).
It took enormous courage for the servant to come forward and make that statement. Courage and caring. In doing so, he risked his job and position. But how could he do otherwise? His love and concern for his master compelled him to speak out.
Thank God for friends and people of courage who are willing to speak up–especially when they put their own position or a relationship at stake when they say, “Won’t you take another look?”
As you look over the past few weeks and months, have you had such a situation arise? One in which you have prayed for provision, but it didn’t seem to come? Perhaps it’s time to take another look.
One red flag to watch for is anger. Anger is an indicator of something else. It can be an indicator of pride. We always need to search our heart for these indicators.
Is there a time in the past when we responded in anger to a friend or someone God may have brought into our life to be a bridge of provision, because we didn’t like what they said? Perhaps in doing so, we missed our miracle because we didn’t recognize or receive the package in which it came.
Naaman’s pride, and pre-determined expectation almost prevented him from receiving his miracle. Yet in the end, he listened to the servant.
It takes maturity to walk in humility, it is also the entryway to blessing. Naaman was willing to humble himself in his own eyes and before his servant as he went and dipped in the dirty water of the Jordan. Immediately he was made clean.
Talk about a paradox. How absurd to dip in the dirty water to be clean. And yet isn’t that often God’s way? “But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty” (I Corinthians 1:27).
This is an important lesson for the days ahead where life, the economy and our future is uncertain. We are entering a season in which we cannot afford to let pride cloud our vision or cause us to miss our miracle. These are days in which we need to walk in humility, be willing to listen to others, weigh what is said, come together in unity and work together.
God’s plan for provision may not make sense to our heads in the natural. It may not come in the package we expect.But watch for it.[Tweet this]
We may have to humble ourselves in order to receive it. But if we don’t, we risk missing the very thing for which we have prayed.
God has been and always will be Jehovah Jireh—our Provider. So when we pray and stand ready—watching for His answer, it’s important that we don’t miss His miracle provision simply because it may not come in the package we expect.