My way or the highway is a phrase we are all familiar with. This phrase is usually heard when a subordinate believes they have a better idea than their leader. A parent tries to explain to their child why things have to be done a certain way then finally resolve to say, “ Look, it’s either my way or the highway.” In other words either you do it my way or you can forget it. Most kids at this point will surrender and let you have your way while others are determined to make it happen.
I find as Christian, we are the same. Daddy God says, “ This is the way I want you to do it.”, and we have a better, more logical idea of how the task can be accomplished. At this point we are simply resisting God. For some reason our intellect, at times, tries to usurp God’s authority. We unconsciously believe we know better. A statement like, “That couldn’t have been God, I missed Him” can mask this attitude. We are willing to accept this as fact because surely God would not have me do something as ridiculous as this. So we move on into utter confusion and delusion trying to change what we heard God say.
The story of Naaman in the Bible reminds me of such a scenario. (2 Kings 5) Naaman was an honored soldier but had one problem, leprosy. As the story goes, Naaman got word that Elisha may be able to cure him and set off to see the prophet. Once Naaman found him, he was given simple directions, “Go wash yourself seven times in the Jordan and you will be restored and cleansed” Now you would think Naaman would have saddled up his horse and rode to the Jordan as fast as possible, but Naaman had a problem with these instructions. Remember Naaman was an honored man, which means everyone in the city knew him and he was accustomed to the finer things in life. Naaman also had a problem with the Jordan River. It was a dirty, unclean river.
So Naaman decides the directions are bogus and leaves angry. Upon his return home, his servant talks some sense into him and tells him to reconsider; “if he had told you to do something great you would have done it, so why not give it a try.” So Naaman swallows his pride and goes and dips in the Jordan 7 times and scripture says, “His flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.” Not only was he restored and healed but also his skin was returned to an even better state than it was before the leprosy.
Why was it so hard for Naaman to follow the instructions? Nothing else had worked and he was desperate for his healing. I believe several things were going on here. Naaman was accustomed to being revered, and his reputation was at stake. He wanted to do something that would stay in line with the honor and respect he had gained from the community.
Naaman even gives a list of better ways to receive his healing in verses 11-12. Naaman is like, wave your hand and cleanse me, or give me some clean water to dip in; in other words, “This is dumb and I’m out.” Naaman had no point of reference in his mind of who God was and how he worked. So God used the prophet Elisha to give Naaman an ultimatum, “My way or the Highway.” I mean think about it, the captain of the army would be a disciplined, stern, controlled man, and now he was being asked to lower himself and wash in a dirty river not one time, but seven. I could just see the newspaper headlines, “ Captain of the Army Loses his Mind and goes Swimming in the Jordan.” Utter ruin would follow, all respect would be lost, and Naaman would have been the joke of the community. Sometimes that’s how faith is; you have to risk your earthly reputation to obey God’s unearthly methods.
I find us to be the same way. We want blessings and breakthroughs but somehow want them on our terms. At first, God will try to reason with us and help us understand, but if we keep pushing our way He will simply say, “It’s my way or the Highway.” He’s not being mean, He’s simply saying, “Trust me.”
In those moments, we are given the opportunity to jump off a cliff in the dark with Jesus in faith that he will catch us, or we can continue in the way that makes sense to us, and miss God. I had a friend tell me once that God does everything backwards. That statement still resounds in my heart to this day. When you think about it that’s true. When we read the Bible Jesus never did anything conventional, He spit in peoples’ eyes, he snatched handicapped people off their beds and commanded them to walk. He said, “ The last will be first,” “Turn the other cheek,” “Forgive others 7 x 70.” I could go on and on. The bottom line is he never does things the way we think he should! (Isaiah 55:9) Why? Cause he’s God!
Author: Petrina Milan