Have you ever seen someone use a shotgun to kill a flea? Sounds silly, I know, but it provides an interesting mental image. And what a waste…
Yet, it’s sometimes what we expect of God, that is, to answer our prayers with the full cavalry, flags flying and guns blazing. Now, certainly, He is “the Lord of Heaven’s Armies”, and someday He will come back in full array. It’s just that occasionally I feel like I need Him to do that immediately, in my particular circumstance, in this relationship, or concerning my current “right-now-in-my-face” problem.
I’m wanting canons. He shows up with a fly-swatter.
Same with an Old Testament guy called Naaman. He had contracted a very contagious, life-threatening and socially-isolating skin disease. This was huge, a devastating diagnosis for himself, his family, and his future. Interestingly, not only was Naaman not a Jew, but he had been instrumental in the armed forces of the enemy to defeat Israel in the recent past. Even so, he was directed to the prophet Elisha in the hopes of being healed.
And Naaman was looking for some pretty miraculous canons.
When Naaman and his entourage showed up at Elisha’s residence, the prophet didn’t even come to the door but sent someone else to say:
“Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan [River], and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.” (1)
Needless to say, Elisha’s comment was a bit off-putting for this military commander. He was about to leave in a huff, when his level-headed servants mentioned “if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!” (2)
And, what do you know, it worked. (Duh.)
Moral of the story (one of several, anyway): God doesn’t always use what we expect to answer our prayers. As Martin Luther wrote back in his day, we present our requests to God, but leave the “when and how” at the alter. Our God is amazingly creative, and it behooves us to leave room for that creativity.
It also saves on the gunpowder.
(1)2 Kings 5:10
(2) 2 Kings 5:13