6/9/16: God’s Ideas Trump Ours
My brother and his Marine Corps buddies taught me how to play bid whist. In most hands of this card game, players are required to choose a trump suit. Wikipedia explains that the cards thus designated as trump cards for that hand of play outrank all cards of plain or non-trump suits. In other contexts, the term “trump card” can refer to any sort of action, authority, or policy which automatically prevails over all others. We never played the card game to win anything but bragging rights, but those Marines would play that game as though they were taking the next important hill. What fun it was to strategize with your partner, depend upon the support of the cards he held, and toss down a trump card to wipe out what the opposing team thought would be a sure winner.
God’s ideas operate much like trump cards. We have our thoughts about how things should play out, and then He comes along and tosses a trump on the table. This happened to a guy in Second Kings chapter five.
Naaman, the commander of the army of the king of Syria, had unfortunately contracted leprosy. His wife’s servant girl, a young lady from the land of Israel, told her mistress, “If only my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria! For he would heal him of his leprosy” II Kings 5:3 (NKJ). Word of this got to Naaman and so he went to Elisha to be healed. Elisha didn’t even come out of his house, but sent word to Naaman saying, “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored to you, and you shall be clean” II Kings 5:10.
Washing seven times seems like a simple enough direction, but Naaman didn’t see it that way at first. The story continues, “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. Are not the Abanah and the Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?’ So he turned and went away in a rage” II Kings 5:11-12. Naaman’s servants then had to talk some sense into him saying, “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’?” II Kings 5:13. I guess Naaman must have looked at his white, diseased, leprosy skin and realized how stupid he was sounding. So he got himself down to the Jordan, dipped seven times, and sure enough, “his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean” II Kings 5:14.
God’s idea for Naaman’s healing trumped Naaman’s idea for how his healing should happen. That’s always the way. God’s ideas trump ours. There’s nothing wrong with having ideas, but we must be careful never to let them interfere with the manner in which God decides to handle our situation. As in bid whist, we just have to be good-natured about the fact that sometimes, our best play will be trumped by a better play. God’s got all the trump cards. I’m glad He’s at the table.
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