You may not even remember who he was. Namaan, a young captain of the Syrian army, was not remembered for enormous conquests or leading his armies to victory. But don’t be confused, he did win a great battle.
Leprosy is a devastating and contagious disease that affects the skin, mucous membranes, and nerves, causing discoloration and lumps on the skin and, in severe cases, disfigurement and deformities.
Leprosy is spread between people. This is thought to occur through a cough or contact with fluid from the nose of an infected person. Leprosy occurs more commonly among those living in poverty. Contrary to popular belief, it is not highly contagious.
However, early detection of the disease is important, since physical and neurological damage may be irreversible even if cured. However in earlier days, contracting the disease meant exile and a slow, painful death.
So when Namaan came down with the disease, he felt his future was being determined for him. Do you ever feel that way? He would be banished and die a slow and painful death. But there was hope. Elisha, a prophet could recover Namaan from his leprosy. He just had to follow the prophet’s counsel. When he did, Namaan was healed.
Perhaps you sometimes feel like your destiny is out of your hands, that your future is being decided for you, as well. If you feel that way, remember Namaan's story and how his choice to follow the prophet saved him from a life of pain. Because that is exactly what following the prophet will do for you. Instead of pain and suffering, you can experience joy, satisfaction, and hope regardless of your circumstances.
Happy people have learned to manage hardship with hope, which is the outcome of obedience to the commandments.
That's how Namaan won his battle and just how you will win yours.
“And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it.”
It didn’t make sense and was illogical. And Elisha didn’t even come deliver the message himself. He sent a messenger boy to deliver the information: wash seven times in the river Jordan. Weren’t the rivers in Damascus better than all the rivers of Israel? Yes. Namaan felt humiliated and offended. Fortunately, his servant convinced him of his poor reasoning. When he followed the prophet’s counsel, he was healed.
So what does this experience teach us. For me, I learn that our Church leaders know things that will benefit and lift us. Their guidance might seem obvious or trite, but if following their counsel will bring the anticipated blessings, why wouldn’t we do that?
Logic, justification, and reasoning have nothing to do with it.
It simply comes down to a matter of faith.
Prayers are answered according to faith.
Without faith among men, God can do no miracle among them.
In the end, our faith in Jesus Christ is the essential foundation for our eternal salvation and exaltation. As Helaman taught his sons, “Remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation … , which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.”
When we watch a great athletic event or musical performance, we often say that the person is very gifted, which is usually true. But the performance is based upon years of preparation and practice. One well-known writer, Malcolm Gladwell, has called this the 10,000-hour rule. Researchers have determined that this amount of practice is necessary in athletics, musical performance, academic proficiency, specialized work skills, medical or legal expertise, and so on. One of these research experts asserts “that ten thousand hours of practice is required to achieve the level of mastery associated with being a world-class expert—in anything.”
That's probably true for righteous living as well.
Have you done your ten thousand hours yet?