seeking relief from the leprosy of weight loss
“Go and wash seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will heal, and you will be clean.”
2 kings 5:10
A few Sundays ago, we heard the Gospel all about leprosy. 2 Kings, Chapter 5
What is God trying to teach us with this Bible verse? Is the leprosy in our lives the weight loss that we desire?
In this Gospel, we first learn about Naaman, an esteemed Army Commander of King Aram, but living in shame with leprosy. He wanted relief so badly that he followed instructions given by a servant girl to seek out the Prophet Elisha who could heal him. Obviously, he would go to great lengths for relief in that time. (Commanders didn’t usually follow the advice of servant girls.)
The Scripture says that “He set out, taking along ten silver talents, six thousand gold pieces, and ten festal garments.” (2 Kings 5:5) He intended to pay as much as possible for the cure.
Did you know that an estimated 45 million Americans go on a diet each year, spending roughly $33 billion each year on weight loss products. That is $733 per person annually according to the Boston Medical Center.
It is obvious that we desire to stop overeating and overdrinking—and will pay for it.
As the story goes, Elisha sent him a message, “Go and wash seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will heal, and you will be clean.” (2 Kings 5:10)
This message was not well received. This is not how Naaman wanted it to go. He wanted Elisha to just come out and heal him in one quick moment. On top of that, this audacious prophet instructed him to go to Israel to wash in the Jordan River!
Israel was his opponent!
That was not the way Namaan wanted this done or the place that he wanted to go. He was angry, but he kept trying. His comrades urged him to obey.
He wanted relief. So do we and we usually want it done quickly and painlessly.
Namaan would try anything—so he went down to the place and plunged in the Jordan River seven times just as he was told.
He listened to his community. He kept trying and was obedient, and he was healed—way beyond his dreams.
He was so thankful that he went back to the prophet Elisha in gratitude. He even transported dirt from the land of Israel to his own country so that he could worship the Lord on that very land within his own.
He was now converted to the Lord—the one true God.
What if we struggle with the same leprosy of overeating and overdrinking? What would we do to get relief? Would we study the scripture and go to the Sacraments? Would we journal, self-coach, and use the Thought Model to take our sticky beliefs captive—only to learn to shift them to serve God and ourselves?
Would we get coached and figure out how to shift our thoughts?
What would it take to be healed? Sacraments. Fortitude. Trust. Obedience. Struggle. Work.
A community to advise us wisely?
All of this is available to you. We must open ourselves up to God and Grace. We must avail ourselves of the hidden Jesus in the Sacraments. We must listen to the prophets. And, stick together.
We must humble ourselves and battle our weaknesses. We mustn’t give up.