There Is a Balm in Gilead (ELW 614)
There is a balm in Gilead
to make the wounded whole;
there is a balm in Gilead
to heal the sin-sick soul.
1 Sometimes I feel discouraged
and think my work’s in vain,
but then the Holy Spirit
revives my soul again. [Refrain]
2 If you cannot preach like Peter,
if you cannot pray like Paul,
you can tell the love of Jesus
and say, “He died for all.” [Refrain]
3 Don’t ever be discouraged,
for Jesus is your friend;
and if you lack for knowledge,
he’ll not refuse to lend. [Refrain]
Healing may not come the way we might prefer in the moment. When we think of genuine love in our lives, shown to us by those we know beyond doubt love us, it is healing, restorative, transformative. Though it may sting—in the moment.
God’s love, like theirs, often comes to us not softly as pillows. Think of the old saying: “Salt in the wound.” I used to think that just meant someone was being cruel, rubbing salt in our wound. But in ancient times, salt was the most available antibiotic. Soldiers carried it to rub in the wounds of injured comrades. It stung! But it was for healing. I suspect the balm in Gilead, likewise, might sting a bit in order to heal. This is true love, true comfort—acts and intentions that make us whole rather than merely comfortable.
We ask for—and give you thanks for—the healing we need, even though it may sting in the moment. Amen.