This post is written by our curriculum editor Nannette Elkins, wife of Douglas Elkins, our North America Regional Coordinator.  Nannette also spent a year in Latvia helping launch Revival by Design. She is the author of The Daniel Fast, A Devotional available here! You can get acquainted with her writings at her blog Hope in the Healing and also at Internet Cafe Devotions where she is a monthly contributor.

Have you heard of the Abana and Pharpar syndrome?

Naaman had it. He originated it, all because he did not want to humble himself.

Naaman was a “captain of the host of the king of Syria” and the Bible says he was a great man, honorable and a mighty man of valor.

But he was a leper.

Naaman’s wife had a little maid who was taken captive out of Israel and she was sympathetic toward her master and his condition. She told Naaman’s wife that if he were with the prophet in Samaria he would be able to heal him of his leprosy.

She was confident of the power of God and confident in the man of God!

This was told to Naaman and he eventually made his way to the house of Elisha the prophet. Elisha sends a messenger to Naaman and tells him to “Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean.”

This infuriated Naaman! He wanted pomp and fanfare to go along with his healing! “Behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the LORD his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper. Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? May I not wash in them, and be clean? So he turned and went away in a rage.” 2 Kings 5:11, 12.

Abana and Pharpar were rivers that were closer to home and much cleaner than the muddy, nasty Jordan River. But there is so much more here than just two rivers that were nicer to take a bath in.

Doctors are well aware of the Abana and Pharpar syndrome. They see patients with this disease quite regularly. They make an appointment, then come in and tell the doctor all about their ailment. He listens, makes a diagnosis and then prescribes his cure or course of treatment.

“But wait! This is not what we wanted! We have researched this disease on the internet (everyone knows if you read it on the internet it has to be true!), and we want this treatment, this medicine, this way to healing.”

patient and the healer

The patient wants to become the doctor, he tells the Healer he knows a better way…

But it doesn’t work that way in the field of medicine and it doesn’t work that way with God.

Naaman’s servants were much wiser than their master. They got together and went to Naaman 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.

They definitely hit the nail on the head. If Elisha had come and stood before Naaman waving his magic wand and making a big show out of things before Naaman’s healing, he would have been thrilled. But he couldn’t do something as simple as washing in the river…there was no fanfare, no glory in the muddy Jordan!

His servants finally convinced him and he went down and obeyed, dipped himself seven times and “…his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean”. 2 Kings 5:14.

First, humility. Second, obedience. Third, the miracle!

How many times have we been like Naaman with our own Abana and Pharpar syndrome? We have it all figured out for the Lord. “If you will do it this way, God, I will get what I want and everything will be just fine.” We pray…but we pray with conditions. We even tell God how it would work out best for us and instruct Him how to go about it.

Are we really allowing God to govern our lives?

If we will submit to our Lord in the beginning, humble ourselves before Him and let Him be in control of every facet of our lives, we can be sure of His blessing. We can be assured of His hand upon everything that we go to do…but we must be willing and obedient.

Humility and obedience. Those two things will negate the Abana and Pharpar syndrome! It takes the ME out of the picture and puts God in His rightful place.

Aren’t things so much easier when He is in control? He sees down the road and knows what is best. Naaman is proof…all he had to do was dip…seven times. Naaman thought it was foolish but God had bigger plans than just dirty bath water for Naaman.

He had a miracle waiting in the water.

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