Is there no balm in Gilead?
Is there no physician there?
Why then has the health of the daughter of my people
not been restored?

Jeremiah 8: 22

 

This is a lament. There is no healing to be found in the land, and the children who should be the great hope of the future and the delight of our eyes today are wasting away and falling to the ravages of disease and under the violent hands of war. When we see them being consumed by all that is anti-god in our world, we seek to find a physician, a ruler or leader, who will apply a healing salve to their wounds, but there are none to be had. Instead, too many of our nations are being led by war-mongers and by self-aggrandizing people that desire to profit upon the misery of others. This is truly a sad state of affairs, and it is one that leads us ever farther away from God’s will and takes us deeper into a growing wilderness of isolation from God’s truth and righteous justice.

 

This is also a challenge that followers of Christ face today. We desire for our nations to be led by people who apply the balm of justice, mercy, reconciliation, and love to the wounded souls that are being churned up and damaged by the conflicts, struggles, and other evil actions that run rampant upon the earth and in our communities. Yet, many of our leaders seem to be more intent upon placing bombs of protectionism, greed, fear, and isolationism along the pathways that should lead to safety than they are desirous of granting that safe harbor to these troubled souls. They also focus their peace-making energy on approaches to ending conflicts that are based upon over-powering the opponent and are accomplished by dropping bombs upon those opposing forces. Force, violence, and coercive victory have seldom been the answer to our world’s disagreements and struggles, and they hold little promise of leading us into peace today.

 

As John Newton, the writers of African-American spirituals, and even Edgar Allen Poe recognized, the balm that truly brings healing to the land and restorative health to its people is found in Christ alone. We cannot place our hope in our nations or in their rulers, for they will not provide what is needed to bind up wounds and to stop our violent ways. Our laws, in and of themselves, will not bring life where death has taken hold, and our armies and weapons will certainly not grant peace to our world. Christ is the answer to poverty, to greed, to violence, and to all other forms of chaos that is running rough-shod across our planet. Christ works in people to transform our thinking and to empower our hearts with His desire for healing and restoration. Then, He uses people to go forth into our world to make His redemption tangible and real. In Christ we must hold our leaders accountable to words and actions that model Jesus and that honor God. By Christ’s love we must bind the wounds of the broken, embrace the stranger, feed the bodies and the souls of the lost and the homeless, and grant asylum to the victims of our world’s aggressions. Christ is that balm that brings about healing and peace, and we are called by Him to apply its soothing salve to all of our world’s wounded and need-filled people.

 

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For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God.

Romans 8: 19

 

Did you realize that everything is waiting on you? Yes, institutions, politics, music, art, your neighbor, your family, the next person that you will meet in line at the grocery store, and everyone and all of the world around you is waiting. Most of them don’t have the slightest clue that they are caught up in this form of suspension, and I also bet that you haven’t given very much thought to this long list of appointments that you need to keep, either. I know that I hadn’t begun to add them into my calendar. Yet, they are there, and the schedule was devised by God, Himself, and He set it up back in the very beginning of time.

 

The person who God determined would make a difference in our world is you, and me. The Lord is, of course, fully aware of the enormous gap that exists in the way that this world functions and in the one that He designed for it, and Christ is the answer to that gap. However, He has already done His personal first work, and, although, He will do a second and a final work, this work is something that will come at a time that only God knows. Until then, Christ has tasked His followers with the right to pursue redemption, with the responsibility to seek it, and with the power to do His redemptive will. All of creation, that is, all of the world is waiting for the healing touch that can only be found through Christ, and guess what; you and I are the ones who have been given that role and the responsibility for reaching out to touch all around with God’s love.

 

This is a huge responsibility and an enormous task; yet, it is also one that God wants more than anything else for us to take on. He will grant all of the grace, wisdom, and strength that any of us need to do it. In order to do this we need to seek to live in the center of God’s righteousness, and we need to be open to the opportunities that will come to us as we go about the business of life. There are people all around us who want to be touched by the grace of God, and we are all involved in organizations, institutions, and aspects of our society that can be moved toward redemption by our influence. Put simply, there is a world waiting today for you to reveal Christ to it.

 

If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me; and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scriptures said, “From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.”

John 7: 37, 38

We all thirst, our throats become dry to the point of pain, and our hearts become parched until there is no strength left in us. Life can be draining, it sucks the vital fluids from our cells until we feel as if we are going to collapse in on ourselves. Then, even if we receive a touch of mist that promises to revive us, the fierce wind of discouragement starts to blow, and the mist evaporates before any of its dew has soaked into our flesh. So, when Jesus asks if anyone is thirsty, He already knows that this is true of everyone.

Christ is the answer to whatever form of thirst we may have. He provides the cooling and rejuvenating liquid that is His Spirit, and the Lord gives us the gift of a bottomless and everlasting well filled with the sweet taste of His grace, mercy, and love. God’s Spirit becomes our own continual source of life sustaining water for our souls. Even in times of drought there is no lack of supply. Christ remains with His people and in our lives through all of our disasters, both natural and self-inflicted. You see, He is always with us, for He resides in our hearts.

When the thirst becomes unbearable, and life becomes unsustainable, we need to look inside to the Spirit of Christ. We can also be encouraged and gain the knowledge that leads us to His will from God’s Word. In times of great thirst, Christ calls on us to take comfort in His presence; then, we can start to recover from the struggle of life while He cleanses, refreshes, and restores us with the living water of God’s perfect love.