You know what I hate? Apathy. It cuts you off from people and from God and it does it in such a sneaky way that you actually don’t even care about being cut off. The promise of joy is no incentive to apathy; it doesn’t care. The threat of discomfort is no deterrent to apathy; it is indifferent.
I want to be healed from apathy. And I know God wants that for me too. Which begs a question: if God cares so much about me being healed and free from my sin, why doesn’t He just wave a hand over my head and heal me from it?
One thing that seems clear to me in the Scriptures is that as much as God cares about healing, He cares at least as much about how healing happens. I was reading this morning about Naaman. Naaman is a leper who wants to be healed.
Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored, and you shall be clean.” But Naaman was angry and went away, saying, “Behold, I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call upon the name of the LORD his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure the leper. (2 Kings 5:10-11 ESV)
Naaman is frustrated. He wants healing. He trusts that the Israelite God has the power to heal (so much so that he travels a long way willing to pay a lot of money). Sounds like faith, right? Except, Naaman doesn’t trust God enough to simply do what God says. He wants the Great Physician’s healing touch, but doesn’t trust the Great Physician’s prescription.
I hear ya, Naaman.
I have wanted God to wave a hand over my apathy and heal it this week. I just want it fixed so I can feel differently about Him and His Word and the mission He has given me. It’s how I want God to deal with my anxiety: just heal it! Just fix it so that I can feel less uncomfortable and so I might be filled with peace!
And God and I are on the same page in some ways. He also wants my apathetic heart to melt into a passionate puddle of hunger for His glory. He also wants the knots in my stomach to loosen into a peace that surpasses understanding.
But He wants to do those things – to heal me of apathy and anxiety – through the means that He has prescribed. He knows that fixing the symptoms is secondary to healing the disease of unbelief in my heart. Faith will be strengthened – not just by trusting God to heal – but by trusting Him with the how of healing.
You know that your faith is too small when you trust God to fix the symptoms, but aren’t willing to trust Him enough to walk through the means He has prescribed for healing.
God has handed out the prescription to heal apathy: a passionate faith comes from hearing and hearing comes from the Word of God.
Trusting God to heal your apathy looks like opening the pages of Scripture even when your heart feels dry and dull and uninterested; to let streams of living water flow in, as His Word washes over you. And you will know that you are trusting God as healer when, even as you shut the pages and feel no different, you are confident that He is moving and working. So much so that you will do the same thing again and again.
When we want our anxiety to be healed and transformed into peace, God doesn’t just want us to squeeze our eyes shut and hope He will wave a magic hand over us and remove the stress. He wants us to trust Him as the Great Physician so much that we will listen and obey the prescription He hands out: let your requests be known to God with supplication and prayer, and with thanksgiving, meditate on all that He has done and all the past promises He has fulfilled so that your heart might be filled with hope that He is for you. This is the means He prescribes to lead to a peace that surpasses understanding.
Believe that God cares about your healing. Take heart that He is a God who heals. And trust Him as healer so much that you are willing to do whatever means He prescribes in His Word.