At any given time, most of us are dealing with more than one problem. Difficulties with relationships, work, school, and money can sometimes combine to produce nearly unbearable stress. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to reduce life’s multiple trials to just one problem?
The Bible describes the life of a man who lived in Syria many years ago. The passage records only one problem in his life. But I doubt any of us would trade our numerous difficulties for his particular one. “Now Naaman, captain of the host of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master, and honorable … he was also a mighty man in valour, but he was a leper” (2 Kings 5:1).
Despite what seems at first glace to be an incredibly charmed life, this man’s existence is overshadowed by one compelling fact – he was a leper. The elevation of his position, the extent of his popularity, and the effectiveness of his performance cannot compensate for the stigma of his being branded as a leper.
During Naaman’s lifetime few conditions were so reviled. Leprosy was disfiguring, mildly contagious, while imposing an incurable life sentence on its sufferers. A leper lived with an awareness of separation and a sense of hopelessness.
In contrast to Naaman’s one problem, our troubles seem insignificant. But God uses leprosy in Scripture to illustrate a condition every one of us has had since birth. Being infected with the bodily disease of leprosy is illustrative of our being infected with the soul-disease of sin. Just as a leper cannot cure himself, we as sinners cannot cure ourselves of sin. Leprosy caused separation of the infected from the healthy. Similarly, those who have not received God’s remedy for sin will be separated from Him for eternity.
If we were to read further in 2 Kings 5, we would see that there was only one solution provided to cure Naaman’s leprosy. At first Naaman refused to receive healing in God’s way. He seemed ready to continue suffering, rather than come in God’s way. Similarly, God has provided one single means of being cleansed from sin. Placing one’s faith in Christ – the Savior Who suffered for sin at Calvary – is the single way Scripture declares to sinners seeking forgiveness.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
Most of the issues we spend our time worrying about are of no lasting significance. But the problem of our sin carries eternal consequences. The wisdom we gain from Naaman’s experience would encourage us to deal with the issue before it is too late. Despite all the complex problems we face in life, all can be distilled to one primary cause and one single solution. Our primary problem: SIN. God’s single solution: CHRIST.