Crossroads: Easy vs. Difficult

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2 Kings 5:1-3, 7-15c

Your Story

Talk about a time in your life when you thought something was going to be very difficult but it turned out to be easy. It could be a school project, work project, or a chore. The event should be something you dreaded doing but wasn’t bad once you started.

My Story and the Bible Story

There have been many times that I have put off doing something because I either thought it was going to take a while or I thought it would be hard to do. For example, I tend to put off washing pots and pans after I cook because I think it’s going to take forever. When I finally wash them, though, it usually only takes about five minutes. Also, a few weeks ago I got a new dining room table and chairs. Putting the table together took hours, so I wait a day to put the chairs together because I thought they would take a while too. I dreaded having to struggle with all four of them but, once I got started, it only took about 20 minutes to assemble them all. Sometimes we don’t want to do something because we think it’s going to take a while or that it will be hard. And sometimes, we think something sounds so easy that there’s no way it could be worthwhile.

Read 2 Kings 5:1-1, 7-15c. From the NIV: Now Namaan was commander of the army of the king of Aram. He was a great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded, because through him the Lord had given victory to Aram. He was a valiant soldier, but he had leprosy. Now bands from Aram had gone out and taken captive a young girl from Israel, and she served Namaan’s wife. She said to her mistress, ‘If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.’… As soon as the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his robes and said, ‘Am I God? Can I kill and bring back to life? Why does this fellow send someone to me to be cured of his leprosy? See how he is trying to pick a quarrel with me!’ When Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his robes, he sent him this message: ‘Why have you torn your robes? Have the man come to me and he will know that there is a prophet in Israel.’ So Namaan went with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house. Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, ‘Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.’ But Namaan went away angry and said, ‘I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than any of the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?’ So he turned and went off in a rage. Namaan’s servants went to him and said, ‘My father, 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’!’ So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy. Then Namaan and all his attendants went back to the man of God. He stood before him and said, ‘Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel. Please accept now a gift from your servant.’

Namaan got upset with Elisha because Elisha told him to do something easy. All Namaan had to do was wash in the Jordan River and his leprosy would be gone. But Namaan thought that surely he needed to do something harder in order to be cured. Sometimes we fall into that trap too. We think that we need to earn God’s grace. We think that the only way we can be saved is to do difficult things to prove our worth to God. But all we have to do is accept God’s grace. There’s nothing we can do to earn it. And yet it’s sometimes hard for us to trust that it’s that easy.

On the flip side, there are times when we give up before we ever start because we think something’s going to be too hard and that we won’t be able to do it. There are times when those things are hard, but there are also many times when they aren’t as hard as we expect. And here’s the kicker: if what we think is too hard is something that God has asked us to do, then God will help us through it. We may not be strong enough to do it on our own, but if we trust in God, God will help us. There are going to be times in our lives when, like Namaan, something seems too good or easy to be true. When that happens, listen to God. God will tell you what’s true. There will also be times when things seem to hard. Listen to God then, too. If it’s something God wants you to do, God will help you. And that is great news!

Discussion

• Ask your kids if there have been times when something seemed too good (or too easy) to be true. Also have them talk about times when they thought something would be too hard. What happened? Did they ask for help?
• Why do you think Namaan eventually did what Elisha told him to do? What should we do if it seems like God is telling us to do something really easy or something really hard?

Prayer

Thank God that all we have to do to be saved is accept God’s grace. Ask God for help in doing things that are hard.

Jessica Asbell is currently serving as the Minister to Children at First Baptist Church of Roswell, GA. She has worked with children in various capacities at several churches, including Winter Park Baptist in Wilmington, NC, First Baptist of Decatur, GA, and Highland Hills Baptist in Macon, GA. She has a Master of Divinity from McAfee School of Theology and a BBA from Mercer University. In her spare time she loves to read, watch movies, and of course spend time with her sweet kitty, Lucy.

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