The Encourager

The Encourager

“The Cure for Our Souls - by Bill Fairchild, Jr.”

The Cure for Our Souls

by Bill Fairchild, Jr.

“Is there no balm in Gilead, is there no physician there? Why then is there no recovery for the health of the daughter of my people?” (Jeremiah 8:22, NKJV).

In every generation, diseases and illnesses of every sort are threatening our well-being and in some cases our lives. It was not so long ago that Polio was a serious illness for so many. Now in our time, cancers of every sort, HIV, and Hepatitis C have become our modern nemesis!

Each of these diseases serves to challenge the medical community and research institutions at alarming costs in the effort to find a cure.

Found in the heart of the Old Testament, the weeping prophet Jeremiah has seen with his own eyes the sickness and stubbornness of his people. He also understood that because of their rebellion against the God of heaven and His will, his people could not be healed by the “balm of Gilead.”

Gilead stood on the eastern side of the Jordan River. There would be trading caravans that traveled through this area from the east, moving south in the direction of Egypt. One of the products they brought

with them to sell was an aromatic substance used for healing, called balm. In time, then, the term “balm of Gilead” became a phrase associated with “cures” and “healing.”

Jeremiah asks a very poignant question comprised of two parts, “Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there?” It is this type of question, asked centuries ago, that even now echoes through time and resonates with us today. It speaks to mankind of our own shared human experience of pain, brokenness, and longing for healing. It points us to the “balm of Gilead,” a symbol of God’s provision for spiritual healing.

The “balm of Gilead” was a real, tangible substance, a resin derived from a tree native to the region of Gilead. It was known for its healing properties, used to soothe and heal physical wounds. But in the context of Jeremiah’s lament, the balm of Gilead takes on a deeper, spiritual significance. It becomes a metaphor for God’s healing, a symbol of His ability to soothe our spiritual wounds and restore our broken souls.

In the same way, mankind is lost in sin and need of a Savior. God’s love for us is demonstrated in the great sacrifice of His “only begotten Son!” It is as real as the balm of Gilead, as tangible as the resin from the tree and it is by His grace and mercy that forgiveness of sins, the opportunity to be at peace with God and be adopted into His spiritual family can be obtained.

The “balm” God offers is found in the person of Jesus Christ, the Great Physician, who came to heal the broken-hearted and bind up their wounds - yours and mine! And the healing that He provides is not something to be taken lightly. It is not some sort of a superficial band-aid for the heart and soul of man, but rather it is a cleansing that reaches to the very depths of our being.

It is deep and lasting. It touches our wounds with His love, soothes our pain with His grace, and restores our souls with His truth. It is a healing that transforms us, that makes us new creatures in Christ, which brings us the joy and peace of the salvation He alone provides. And it is to be understood that the “balm” found in Jesus requires our choice and participation. We must choose to come to Him and surrender our will to His!

This choice is not always easy. It requires humility, courage, and faith. It requires us to let go of our pride, our fear, and our self-reliance. It requires us to trust in Jesus, to rely on the strength, comfort, and guidance that will never fail us, and to rest in His love. He alone can heal us of all our sins!

Meditate on this:

Joshua 22:18

but that you must turn away this day from following the Lord? And it shall be, if you rebel today against the Lord, that tomorrow He will be angry with the whole congregation of Israel.