There is a story in the Old Testament about a little maiden who had been taken captive by one of Israel’s strong enemies. Her mistress’ husband got the disease of leprosy. There was no cure for the disease. When this maid saw the distress on the face of her mistress, she told her that there was a prophet in Israel who could take care of that disease. Naaman (her husband) traveled with his entourage and arrived at the home of Elisha. Elisha never came out to meet the man, but told his servant, Gehazi, to tell Naaman to dip in the Jordan River seven times.
Naaman was not happy about the situation but obeyed after his servant reminded him of the alternative. Naaman dipped six times without any visible results. However, as he came up after the seventh time, he found his skin just as it had been as a baby. What would have happened if Naaman only dipped five times, or six times? He would have missed the blessing of being healed. He had to obey all the way. Today I want to share the next verse in the book of James with you, that I believe speaks to this same idea.
“But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing” (James 1:4). James had already spoken to his readers about begin joyful in the middle of their troubles. As they had seen God provide through their troubles in the past, He would surely be faithful in the present and future. This is not natural, but it is how we receive the blessing. An important part of receiving the blessing, is allowing the trial to complete it’s work in us. James encourages us to follow the example of Naaman.
I don’t know about you, but many times when a trial comes in my life, or in the life of someone I love, I immediately ask God to remove it. James wrote here that that is not the best response. I believe that I ought to ask God to do His complete work in me with that trial, and to help me to learn all the lessons He has for me through that trial. I am guilty of begging for an escape door somewhere in the middle of the trial. It is comforting for me to know that God has a complete plan for my life, even in the trials.
God, in his omniscience, has a plan, even in the bad things, in my life. I want to be patient and obey to the end. I want to obey all the way through the trials that I face in this life. I can do that because I know that I have a God Who is all-wise and loves me supremely. God has always cared for me in the past, and I am confident that He will always care for me in the future. I, on the other hand, have not always been faithful to be patient through my trials. I am praying today that God will help me to obey all the way!