NOTE: This is the third in the series of devotional thoughts on the BALM OF GILEAD
“Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician here?” Jeremiah 8:22
As we are into month three of the Pandemic of 2020, we tune our eyes and ears to the latest news report, always looking for good news, some light and hope in this scary, unfamiliar way of life. One place I have found light and hope is the media’s attention on the health care workers across the country – Blue Angels flyovers, food deliveries to healthcare workers, nurses dancing in the hallway when a recovered patient leaves the hospital. You’ve seen those wonderful segments from nightly newscasts now ending with heart-warming stories of the good that is being done by people serving others.
I’m so prayerful and hopeful that this will become part of our new normal. It’s just sad that it took a plague to take the spotlight from Hollywood and the professional athletes and redirect that spotlight to show us who the real heroes are – the doctors, nurses, first responders, the workers that are considered “necessary,” teachers, and ministers. These are the ones I call “balm-bearers.”
We continue to think about the balm in Gilead as we look at Jeremiah weeping and praying for his people. He is looking for hope and help. In ancient Bible times, the oils from the balsam trees from a region of Israel known as Gilead, were prized, healing oils. When the tree was wounded, the healing oils seeped through and were collected to make soothing salves. But there’s much more to this process if someone is to derive benefit from them.
God provided the healing oils, but someone had to be there to harvest them and to put them in vessels so they could be carried to those in need. And then someone had to carry those vessels to the hurting people. This was the way God designed it to be–people serving other people.
You don’t have to be a medical professional to give care to someone. Balm comes in many forms in addition to the medicinal. If you have chosen to live God’s way, then you are a balm-bearer. You are the vessel, God’s chosen vessel, to speak healing words, to lend a soothing hand, or to give a message of hope to someone who’s hurting.
Jesus told a story about dividing the sheep from the goats. When the sheep asked, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ Jesus said, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:37
So, what’s on your calendar today? I hope your to-do list includes a bit of balm-bearing. Are you prepared when someone near you is looking for comfort? Do you have a cup of water or a shoulder or a time to pray? When you’re moving around you today, you may be bumping up against angry, hateful, bitter, frightened people. Will you see them as bad people or broken people? Will you see them as Jesus did? As people worthy of the balm of Gilead?