A Healing Balm


Everything is “natural” these days.  Our local grocery store has a line of organic options and has recently added “natural” as well. I find it interesting that the coloring and lettering look identical to each other making the consumer even more confused!   Sometimes I think it’s just a gimmick to get us to pay $.50 more a bag for potato chips.  Potatoes are one of the top foods as far as pesticides are concerned so I don’t really think you have any business calling them natural unless they are truly organically grown?   Natural is by definition something that is totally formed by nature.  I don’t think the pesticides on my potatoes are very natural.

When I was diagnosed with cancer I weighed the benefits and risks of the natural options out there.  I know I’m not the only one.  You may have seen on the news recently that another family was considering natural treatment for their son rather than the traditional treatment.    It’s a tough situation, but I’m thankful I had a doctor who encouraged me to do both.  And the truth of the matter is, that some of my chemotherapy medicine was as natural as they come, just at highly toxic levels.  Taxotere, which I got in large doses, came from the Yew Tree, a renewable resource saving the lives of tons of people who are dealing with breast and lung cancer.  I think we need to be careful of throwing out the traditional because we think it’s not natural when in many cases the treatments have evolved from very natural elements.   I was examining the skin creams offered at my plastic surgeons office and wasn’t surprised that the main ingredient was the anemone flower. 

We aren’t the only ones who have sought relief in natural cures.  Years ago, the Old Testament mentions something called the “Balm of Gilead” several times.  The Balm of Gilead, from the Balsam tree, was found in an area of Judea and was highly sought after for medicinal uses and also perfumes.  It was also used by the Egyptians for embalming bodies after death.  I have to think it was pretty powerful stuff to cut the stench of death.  Most often it was used in healing respiratory ailments.  It also must have worked because the prophet Jeremiah likens God to its healing powers, something Judah and the Egyptians were deeply missing. (Judah and Egypt were in cahoots against Babylon who eventually does over take them as prophesied.)  Here’s what Jeremiah says in chapter 46 verse 11.

“Oh, virgin Daughter Egypt,
   climb into the mountains of Gilead, get healing balm.
You will vainly collect medicines,
   for nothing will be able to cure what ails you.
The whole world will hear your anguished cries.
   Your wails fill the earth,
As soldier falls against soldier
   and they all go down in a heap.”

Prophets were not offering the healing message to the people of Judea and so this is what he says:

“Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then is there no healing for the wound of my people?” (Jeremiah 8:22).

The wound of Judea was much more complicated than the wound I’m struggling with.  It was a wound dug by a history of rebellion, unbelief and stubborn hearts towards God.  “Cleaning out” this wound would only begin with repentance.  The Israelites needed a balm for the soul. 

As I struggle with my own wound and I search for the right medicine I am reminded that in rocky times and uncertain path’s there is a healer (Exodus 15:26) that is far more powerful than the balm’s I will try.   Pursuit of God’s healing, no matter how small the steps, is never in vain.  I truly believe He will not only respond, but meet you where you are.  

“Spitfire Grill,” is one of my favorite movies. It’s a story of redemption, healing and hope.   I couldn’t find a better clip, but you’ll get the general feel if you watch it.

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One thought on “A Healing Balm

  1. Thanks Jen- I was reading this post and half-way through started thinking about “Spitfire Grill.” 🙂 I love that movie. This was a good word, Jen. Your personal experience is a powerful analogy for wounded-ness. I will pray that your wound heals. I read a quote once that said “God wounds us where he wills to heal us.” I’m still not sure what it means, but I’ve never forgotten it. I think there is truth in that.
    Blessings to you-
    Kari

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