A mini-series of devotions written based on the biblical name Gilead. Click here to read her other posts.
“Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there?” Jeremiah 8:22 (NIV)
Gilead is a real place – a region north of the Dead Sea in Israel. In Bible times, this region was noted for trees whose oils had medicinal properties. Many scholars agree that the bark was slit on a balsam tree, and the resin or oil that seeped through had healing properties. It was a valuable commodity and used for trade.
No doubt, Jeremiah knew about Gilead’s balm. In this passage, the weeping prophet feels desperate for himself and for his people as they are in exile. He expresses his heartbreak and hopelessness. He asks the question, “Is there no hope? Will things ever be better? Is there nothing or no one who can help?”
Are you feeling abandoned or exiled? Maybe it is because of a relationship that is unhealthy or the loss of someone you loved. Perhaps it’s a financial problem or a health issue causing you to feel desperate. And it could be that, like Jeremiah, you have these same concerns for someone else you love, not just yourself. Nonetheless, these situations leave you asking the same questions. “Is there no hope? Is there no one who will help?”
I have good news. Turn to Jesus today. He is the compassionate Great Physician and the ever-present balm in Gilead. Here is what God says in Isaiah 41:10. “So do not fear, for I am with you: do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Prayer: Thank you, Father, that there is healing in you. I ask for your provisions, not those of my own. I ask for faith, not understanding. I ask for the peace, hope, and comfort of your presence. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Phyllis Clark Nichols grew up in the deep shade of magnolia trees in Georgia and weaves her Southern culture into character-driven stories that explore profound human questions. She is a classically trained musician and enjoys art, books, nature, cooking, travel, and ordinary people. After retiring as a cable network executive, Phyllis began leading mission teams to orphanages in Guatemala and now serves on three nonprofit boards, where she works with others who are equally passionate about bringing hope and light to those who need it most. Phyllis and her husband live in the Texas Hill Country.