Go up to
Gilead and get balm. Jeremiah 46:11 NIV
The Healing BalmWe've been having some crazy weather patterns here in Indiana. I mean really, snow on the 24th of March, with promises of warmer weather for Easter weekend? Grandma always said that kind of(changeable) weather brought on the croup--that deep cough in your chest. I'm guessing she was probably right, which makes me remember a time when I was a child.
Today there are dolls that giggle, wiggle and crawl. There are dolls that walk, talk, pat-a-cake, wet and more. But in my day, many dolls had cloth bodies. I remember one particular doll, which I named Pauline. One day, while playing in my mom’s bedroom, my eye fell upon the jar of Vicks salve. This was a standard item in our house. I’m convinced that she thought the scent alone could produce healing.
Spying the salve, my four-year-old imagination kicked in, and I knew that Pauline had a chest cold. My small hands applied lumpish amounts of salve to Pauline’s muslin chest, smearing it deeply into the cloth. I was delighted with the nursing care I was giving dear Pauline, and probably well on my way to a career in nursing, when Mom walked into the room. I don’t remember her exact words, but I know they meant, Stop! I sensed I was in BIG trouble.
At the time, I couldn’t understand why she was so upset. She certainly had applied the same to my chest on numerous occasions. In fact, if we were out of Vick, Mom would make an ointment of turpentine and lard heated together. She would rub the mixture on my chest, and then apply a piece of flannel to hold in the warmth. Even as a small child, I knew that we needed healing medicine when we were sick. I thought I was doing a good thing, but in this case it was disastrous. I’m not sure what happened to Pauline, I don’t remember much about her after that. I imagine Mom tried to wash away the Vicks. Perhaps, we kept her, and I became free of chest colds just by sleeping with her.
In Old Testament days, it was thought that in Gilead, a region on the east side of the Jordan River, the balms were healing. The balm was made from turpentine and pistachio trees. (I always wondered where they got the idea for the turpentine and lard ointment. Now, I know.) Later, Jesus was referred to as the “Balm of Gilead”. We all need to apply Christ’s soothing ointment to our lives. We need to turn to the Lord, finding His Balm for our life situations.
“B” Apply the Balm of A Balanced Life: Put God First. I’ve often been troubled with inner-ear problems. When this happens, my world is spinning. Maneuvering down the hallway becomes difficult. I tend to bounce from wall-to-wall like a ping-pong ball being batted back and forth. Remember the teeter-totters from grade school? Too many kids on one end would leave you up in the air, or if someone just up and left, you hit the ground with a thud.
Too often, we rush through our day, leaving God ’til last. We accomplish little and life’s teeter-totter leaves us up in the air or jolts us as it thuds. This is the time we need to confess our sin of ignoring God and implore God to forgive us. Put God first and achieve balance in your life.
“A” Apply the Balm of a Good Attitude. This is the big crayon of life that colors everything we do. Asking if attitude forms our perception or if perception forms our attitude is like asking the chicken and hen question. Both are important. The Scriptures teach us to be thankful in all things. When we do this, we find an unpleasant attitude changes to one of gratitude. When bitterness is all you can taste, sweeten’ your attitude with HIS sweetness. The Scriptures are sweeter than honey, not like artificial sweeteners. We may not feel like having a good attitude, but obedience will cause our emotions to get in sync.
Years ago, a friend shared this example with me. If you swat at a bee, it may sting you. But if you leave it alone, it may buzz or land near you, but not harm you. An angry attitude will cause other people’s attitudes to sting you, but demonstrating a Christ-like sweetness will draw them close in peace. We will not always be successful, because we are imperfect people living in an imperfect world. We have different temperaments and personalities. When your attitude leaves a dark mark on your day, ask for forgiveness, forgive yourself and walk on.
“L” Apply the Balm of Christ’s Love. Proverbs tells us that love covers all wrongs. When we love someone with Christ’s love, we see that person through Christ’s eyes. Pray for this to be a reality in your life. Love has healing properties. As a teacher, my students would come to me with small or invisible scrapes, scratches or bumps. Rather than dismissing their hurts, I would send them to apply a wet paper towel. Soon they would discard the towel and smile at me. Did the paper towel heal them? No, but my attention to their needs, no matter how minute, did.
I Corinthians 13 is known as the love chapter. Wow! Do you love like that? Maybe some, but most of us fall miles short. This is perfect love, something to strive for. Perfect love is only possible when God loves through us.
“M” Apply the Balm of Meditating on God’s Word: Listening and Praying. Meditation means different things to different people. I am referring to thinking, listening and spending time with the Lord in His Word and in prayer, so that we may apply His truths to our live.
Have you ever talked to someone who wasn’t listening? Their minds were elsewhere, and they never heard a word you said? Frustrating, isn’t it? We do this to God all the time. He wants to tell us things, but we don’t have time to listen. Think of the blessings we miss. He speaks to us through His Word. We need to be in the Scriptures daily and mediate upon them. He speaks to us in the quiet. Elijah found this out in I King 19:9-12.
Passing on the Godly Heirloom
of APPLYING GOD’S HEALING BALM
Talk to your older grandchildren about keeping a balanced life. Give them the gift of a planner. There are some really colorful ones just right for pre-teens and teenagers.
Read The Quarreling Book by Charlotte Zolotow to your grandchildren. This is a book that easily demonstrates how quickly our attitude—positive or negative-- can infect those around us.
Put some food coloring in a glass of water. Pick some Queen Anne’s Lace from the roadside and place in the glass. If the wildflower is not available, you can use celery. As the color seeps up the stem of the wildflower or celery, point out that our attitude is like the food coloring in the water, that it flows into the attitudes of those we are around.
Christ-like love is always in season. Enlist your grandchildren in a project of helping others. Whether it’s collecting food or clothing for the needy, packing a Christmas shoebox for Franklin Graham’s Samaritan Purse organization, or visiting a nursing home, this will show children that we are God’s arms and legs on earth.
Keep growing in HIS grace and applying God's healing balm to others.
In HIS love, Janet