Human dynamics in the Bible and 2012: A story about bipolar ego

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“Hey Corey, it’s been awhile”.
“Yes it has. What a beautiful sunset”.
We sat down in rocking chairs outside Cracker Barrel, to wait for a table. The view was toward the west, looking across the silvery Rio Grande toward six small extinct volcanoes. Ominous remnants of past cataclysms in the Rio Grande rift valley.

“I enjoyed your last blog, especially the part about the Syrian general. I was struck by his bipolar personality”.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
Corey rubbed the side of his nose. “Well, let me explain. The general caught leprosy, which was an incurable disease. An expatriate Jewish girl, a servant of his wife, told her about a prophet in Israel who could heal him. The general listened, and decided to act on the information, and travel to Israel to find the healer. That was number 1: he was open to new resources, no matter how uncertain (which perhaps is not too surprising given he had an incurable disease)”.

I nodded “But it probably wasn’t so easy for the general to get a leave-of-absence to travel by chariot all the way to Israel.
“Aha!” replied Corey, “but he was the top general, and the King of Syria actively supported the mission. When the military contingent arrived at the home of the prophet, the prophet didn’t even bother to come out to greet this highly-decorated general…..just sent word for the general to wash his body in the Jordan River seven times. At this, the general exploded and raved on about the lack of respect, and how demeaning it was to wash in a dirty little river like the Jordan. That was number 2: he closed down to the direction of the resource, because his ego got in the way”.

At that instant, a roadrunner scampered out of the bushes across from the parking lot. It is a treat to watch their streamlined running motion, which always reminds me of an intercontinental ballistic missile.
I smiled. “Okay, now I begin to see where you are going with this Corey”.

“The drama intensifies”, added Corey, “because one of the general’s servants probably took a risk when he intervened, arguing cleverly that if the prophet had given the general a challenging task, he would surely have attempted it (because that’s what generals do). The general bought the argument, and went down into the Jordan. That was number 3: he listened to his servant, and changed his attitude again. He swallowed his pride and decided to do the very thing that was so humiliating for him. I suspect he had to kneel in the stream to wash, and this to me is a picture of what we must do to become a Christian”.

The sky glowed pink as the sun started dipping behind one of the volcanoes.
“And the general came up out of the water with his skin glowing like a baby’s”.
“Yes” said Cory with emphasis, “but he didn’t forget the prophet. He went straight back to the prophet’s home and gave honor to God”.

Meanwhile, I stroked my beard for a minute. “I am impressed with the general” I noted, “because he believed in the resources of God, even when he probably knew very little about God. Most people, like the general, come to God and ask for help only after they find themselves in serious trouble…..that’s how most people become Christians. It can be a humbling experience, to admit that we need help, and then get on our knees and ask God for help”.

The roadrunner reappeared with what looked like a small lizard in his beak, which he was shaking vigorously from side to side.
Cory furrowed his brow as he condensed another thought. “Yes, and I think that some folks, although believing in the resources of God, get stuck on number 2, when they close down to the direction of the resource. I know people who acknowledge they are wrestling with an addiction, or forgiveness, or lack of self-confidence, or a distraught marital state, but who refuse to seek counseling, just like the general initially refused to get into the Jordan River”.
“And I agree, and unlike the general, some folks complain over and over again, but they do not attempt to change anything. I want to say to them: I’ll listen again, but only if you tell me what you have tried to change”.

The loudspeaker blared out my name, pronouncing it “Iyawn” which made Corey laugh, and we departed the darkening sky for the cozy lights of the restaurant, and a roaring log fire in a maassive stone fireplace.

“So Naaman came with his horses and chariots and stopped at Elisha’s door. Elisha sent a messenger to him saying, Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored. But Naaman was angry, and said I thought he would surely come out to me ….and call on the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place, and heal the leper….so he turned and went away in a rage.

However, his servant said to him If the prophet had bid you to do some great thing, would you not have done it?….Then he went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan. His flesh was restored like that of a little child. Then Naaman returned to the man of God and said Now I know that there is no God in all the earth but in Israel”. (2 Kings 5).

“Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it….Begin it now” (Goethe). Also discussed in Chapter 8 of “Hiking Toward Heaven”.

The Gray Nomad.
Probing the practice of Christian believers….

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12 years ago
The last of this article states, “If you argue with the inflated ego of a manic individual, there is no winning and both of you will be hurt in the end.”

Only when one is one with God are we whole and complete. Only with God are we able to be healed of the addictions and disorders within (w/in). We win when won w/oneness. HE renews and REStores us to HIM. Hebrews 4:11 Enter His REST.

12 years ago
Reply to  Patricia

Patricia, I love your phrase “He renews and restores us to Him”. The resources of God. Great concept to internalize when we feel down.

Alison (Great Grandmother)
Alison (Great Grandmother)
12 years ago

This is an intriguing story, where we can identify with Namaan who had a second chance. He was proud, but did accept a servant’s advice and listened to the Lord – but no go! However he did have the grace to think again, listen to yet another servant – and was healed. It took courage to do that – so often we give up – when just another step will set us on the right path. Do we have the grace to really listen when He speaks?

12 years ago

Dear Great Grandmother, your words are about listening, the courage to act, and persistence….a great lesson. Thank you.

Linda patino
Linda patino
12 years ago

Ian it’s a lesson learned. We all at some point have to be vulnerable to heal and really trust God. For he knows we need to change in order to learn from his word. It’s called maturity. Pride hinders; stubborness keeps you from growing and maturing. As the general realized.

12 years ago
Reply to  Linda patino

“Vulnerable” is a key word Linda…..right on.

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