We are living in precarious times. There have been at least two reports of police being shot lately in cold blood. There are growing reports of other violence taking place in our communities. There is ongoing division among racial groups. We are living in times where children face needless abuse and neglect. Women are still experiencing low pay as compared to their male counterparts. Although there has been movement on healthcare reform, there are still people who struggle with access to life-saving medical intervention. Our struggles in the community and our world are likened to the problems Jeremiah s prophetic words addressed in the Old Testament. The people of Israel were divided, neglectful in their relationship with God. They engaged in all sorts of violence, which had a grave impact on the poor. They were in need of healing, just as we are in today’s time. Our world needs healing, and not just from cancer, AIDS, Ebola, or other physical diseases. We need healing for our souls. We need healing in the form of forgiveness, repentance, and restoration. This type of healing can only take place in a relationship with God. God provided Jeremiah with the words to speak to the disobedient people of Israel. He admonished them of their sins and the problems in their community. God became very upset with them, and even repeated warnings if they continued to pursue behaviors contrary to the will of God. We must know that we, too, are subject to God’s anger.
God is slow to anger, but it does not mean that he does not get angry. At the end of Jeremiah s prophesy to the Israelites, God asked a rhetorical question: “Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there? Why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?” Jeremiah 8:22. Balm is a lotion often used for medicinal and healing purposes. There is a balm in Gilead. God s inquiry reveals that there is certainly a balm in Gilead, but the people are still sick. God provided the balm in Gilead, in the midst of this suffering people, and they did not take advantage of it. We may look around our world. We may ask the same question: is there a balm in Gilead?
Everyone seems to be on alert for their safety, and we are living in days in which no one seems to be able to trust another person. Someone said the other day that it seems like no one cares about anyone anymore. This revelation is a sign of hopelessness, but there is hope. There is a balm in Gilead. There is a balm in Nashville. There is a balm in Tennessee. There is a balm all around us. The healing that is available to us is through the blood of Jesus Christ.
Healing is available for us, both physical and spiritual. All we need to do is act on our faith and believe it is available and take advantage of it. We need the balm, and we are carriers of the balm. We are the healing the world needs. There is a balm in Gilead.