Thursday, August 4, 2011

There Is A Balm in Gilead

Jeremiah is one of my favorite Old Testament figures. He had a heart for his people and spent countless hours crying out to the Lord on their behalf. The rest of his time was spent trying to redirect the misguided steps of his fellow Israelites.

Perhaps you have heard the popular song by Three Dog Night entitled, "Joy to the World." Well if you are familiar with it then you can smile at my rewrite in honor of my own sweet Jeremiah, "Jeremiah was a prophet, in Old Testament times, people never listened to a word he said and he was crying all the time, singing,'woe to the world, all the boys and girls, woe to the fishes in the deep blue sue, and woe to you and me."

Truth is though, there wasn't too much to smile about in Jeremiah's day. The Israelites were in exile in Babylon. They had been use to living the good life but that time had come and gone. Along comes Jeremiah and he is brokenhearted at the fate of his people. So he cries out to God in Jeremiah chapter 8, "Since my people are crushed, I am crushed. I mourn and horror grips me. Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then is there no healing for the wound of my people?" (Gilead was a city that was known for its herbs and medical spices used in healing)

Essentially Jeremiah was asking, "Where is God in all of this suffering?" And that is a question I have asked a time or two (or ten) myself. In fact, I've been asking it pretty often here lately, but I met with a friend today who helped me see that I am exhausted, not because God hasn't shown up but because I am running ahead of Him, not waiting to see what His plan is or what He is doing that I cannot see. I may have been a little distracted by all the work that has gone into planning my pity party also.

As humbling as it is to admit, I have been feeling pretty sorry for myself and bordering dangerously on the edge of becoming like Job's wife. I have been thinking about all I have done to make this situation right with my nephew and niece and grumbling about the fact that it seems that I am doing all the work and God isn't showing up to do His share. And then I read Isaiah 43:19, "For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland."

Maybe you have heard the old Spiritual, "There is a Balm in Gilead" but the words ring just as true today as when it was first penned: "There is a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole. There is a balm in Gilead to heal the sin sick soul."

Are you weary? Are you hurting, too wounded to crawl out of bed and face the day? Jeremiah could relate, hey, I can relate! So let me first say that I am sorry for whatever life has handed you that is taking the wind out of your sails, and second I want to remind you that there is a balm in Gilead, and in LaMoille, and in whatever city you are sitting in right now. The same God who heard Jeremiah's cries hears yours. And just as He was faithful back then, He is faithful today. Maybe you can't see what He is doing, but trust me friend, He is doing something!

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