A Balm in Gilead

Sandy Kirby Quandt

There is a balm in Gilead, so the African-American slave song says.

Healing. Comfort. It soothes the weary soul. The words of the song are a mix of hope amidst despair, faith amidst great trial, and strength against all odds.

We might think of balm as a soothing ointment, and it is. A balm is also the healing God makes available to each of us. Just as medicinal ointment can reduce pain and heal wounds, so can God’s love.

As far back as I can remember my Aunt Ann used an ointment, Resinol, a balm if you will, on just about any skin condition you could imagine.

This stuff is the best. It has a funky smell I happened to like. Smells sort of like a campfire.

The uses for Resinol include protection for diaper rash, cuts, scrapes, burns; relief from pain and itching associated with minor skin irritations; insect bites, poison ivy, sunburn, minor burns. I’m sure I’ve left something out.

During the prophet Jeremiah’s time Jeremiah asked, rather rhetorically, “Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there?”

You see, Gilead was a mountainous area know for plants and herbs that could produce healing balms. So of course there was balm in Gilead.

But the balm the people truly needed to turn their hearts away from their idolatry and wickedness comes only from God; a  balm they refused to seek.

I believe the same holds true for our world today.

God is the balm that can heal a sin-sick weary world. Not alcohol. Not wealth. Not power. Not fame or anything else we chase after and put before God.

No matter how deep our hurts, even the deepest wound can be healed when we apply God’s balm of love, grace, and power.

Aunt Ann told me about the benefits of Resinol when we visited her, but if the balm had not been applied to my wounds, I never would have experienced its healing. She sold me on the benefits of Resinol for life.

Can we say the same about selling others on the benefits of God’s healing balm?

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I hurt with the hurt of my people. I mourn and am overcome with grief. Is there no medicine in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why is there no healing for the wounds of my people? Jeremiah 8:21-22 (NLT)

I wish you well.


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Sunday Scriptures — Don’t Despair

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

There have been a couple times in my life when I believe what I felt was utter despair. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines despair as to lose all hope or confidence. Yep. That’s what I felt. And what a dreadful place to be.

When we think of the life of King David many things may pop into our minds. Shepherd boy. Goliath killer. Harp player. Psalm writer. Chased by King Saul. Beloved friend of Jonathan. Warrior King of Israel. Slayed thousands. Adulterer. Murderer. Man after God’s own heart. Jesus’ ancestor…

Throughout David’s psalms are songs of anguish, despair and doubt coupled with songs of comfort, praise and rejoicing.

Could it be said of the story of our lives that anguish, despair and doubt can be replaced by comfort, praise and rejoicing? I believe so.

During the times when it appeared I had lost all hope, like David, there remained a spark. A flicker. An ember which refused to be doused by the events that threatened. A reminder that God’s faithfulness could not be removed.

Feeling at the point of losing all hope and confidence?

May I suggest you do what David did, what I do? Remember everything God has brought us through and realize he didn’t bring us this far to drop us now.

Praise God in the midst of the bleakness for who he is. Praise him for what he has done. Praise him for what he is capable of doing. Praise him. Simply praise him.

Get your praise on and send the devil running!


I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Leave a comment below. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

Take courage, my soul! Do you remember those times (but how could you ever forget them!) when you led a great procession to the Temple on festival days, singing with joy, praising the Lord? Why then be downcast? Why be discouraged and sad? Hope in God! I shall yet praise him again. Yes, I shall again praise him for his help. Psalm 42:4-5 (TLB)

I wish you well.


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What’s Your Story?

Pilot and I recently attended the Steven Curtis Chapman concert, The Glorious Unfolding. Laura Story and Jason Gray were also on stage. If you have an opportunity to see this concert, I strongly suggest you go. Here’s Steven’s website link, with all the upcoming dates and venues.

During the concert Jason, Laura, and Steven told some of their story, and how God has worked, and is working, in their lives.

Most importantly, each told how God has taken their broken places, and used them to strengthen their faith, and help them minister to others.

Jason mentioned his speech impediment which causes him to stutter. Laura mentioned her husband’s brain tumor, and how, when he came out of surgery, he knew who she was, but didn’t remember they were married. Steven spoke about the loss of his young daughter, and how he and his wife are advocates for Show Hope. A movement to care for orphans.

Each of us has broken places in our lives. Pain. Sorrow. Suffering. Rejection. No exceptions. The difference is how we handle those hard things life throws at us. God is there to give comfort. All we have to do is reach out to him.

Nothing in our lives is wasted. Even the hard, difficult, why-did-this-have-to-happen-to-me? stuff. If we let him, Jesus can take our brokenness, heal, and restore those broken places, so we are able to use them to comfort someone who may be going through the same things.

So, what’s your story? How are you allowing God to take your brokenness, and use it to comfort others?

What a wonderful God we have—he is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the source of every mercy, and the one who so wonderfully comforts and strengthens us in our hardships and trials. And why does he do this? So that when others are troubled, needing our sympathy and encouragement, we can pass on to them this same help and comfort God has given us. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 TLB

I wish you well.


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