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 here?” Jeremiah 8:22
Although the balm in Gilead is mentioned in the Scripture only a few times, it has inspired writers for centuries. In Edgar Allan Poe’s narrative poem, “The Raven,” the narrator is a young grieving, tormented man lamenting the loss of his beloved Lenore. As he sits in desolation one cold December evening, he is visited by the Raven. The narrator begs of his visitor.
“On this home by Horror haunted—tell me truly, I implore—
Is there—is there balm in Gilead?—tell me—tell me, I implore!”
Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”
Maybe it’s a cold and bleak January morning for you. Perhaps you’re grieving or feeling sad or stressed, and you’re wondering if you’ll ever feel better. When the Raven said “nevermore,” he brought no hope, just a somber, meaningless non-answer. But there is one whose “nevermore” gives us hope. Jesus’ message to us is that nevermore will we be alone or forsaken or without hope. He did not promise lives void of stress or sadness, but he promised us we would not walk through those days without his presence and without hope. Jesus turns nevermore into evermore.
Prayer: Lord, thank you that even when I don’t feel your presence, I am still not alone. Help me to know you are with me. Help me to listen and know your comforting voice. Help me feel the balm of Gilead today. 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.