Friday, July 6, 2018

There is a Balm in Gilead

For the past few days, I have been consumed with the word "balm." It came up in a book I was reading, and I had seen it before in some Bible readings but especially in the African-American song. I kept thinking about the words, "There is a balm in Gilead." I have found a lot of strength in the words of Psalm 46 and a verse in there that says, "There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God," which always made me think of "There is a balm in Gilead," and melted my heart. I thought that maybe it's the phrase "There is a..." that caused me to feel so much reassurance and comfort. I looked up all the verses that had the word balm, and all those with the phrase "There is a..."  I kept running into verses with questions to God that were laments, asking him why bad things happened, where to find comfort and strength, and so on. I decided to find as many verses as I could with those kinds of questions. In the Psalm below, I started with questions to God, then finished with verses of "There is a..."

There is a Balm in Gilead
A psalm of lament and comfort.
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why does the way of the wicked prosper?
    Why do all the faithless live at ease?
How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
    How long will you hide your face from me?
Why do the nations conspire
    and the peoples plot in vain?
Where then does wisdom come from?
    Where does understanding dwell?
Where does my help come from?
Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there?
    Why then is there no healing for the wounds of my people?
There is a God who judges the earth,
    Surely the righteous still are rewarded.
There is a judge for the one who rejects God
    and does not accept his words.
There is a way that appears to be right,
    But in the end it leads to death.
There is an evil God has seen under the sun.
There is a place near God where you may stand on a rock.
    When his glory passes by,
    he will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with his hand
    until he has passed by.
There is a greater power with us.
There is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries.
There is a place where someone has testified:
    “What is mankind that you are mindful of them,
        a son of man that you care for him?
    You made them a little lower than the angels;
         you crowned them with glory and honor.”
There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens.
There is a future hope for you,
    and your hope will not be cut off.
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
    the holy place where the Most High dwells.
    God is within her, she will not fall;
        God will help her at break of day.
There is a balm in Gilead
    to make the wounded whole,
There is a balm in Gilead
    to heal the sin-sick soul.

(Verses from: Psalm 22, Jeremiah 12, Psalm 13, Psalm 2, John 28, Psalm 121, Jeremiah 8, Psalm 58, John 12, Proverbs 14, Ecclesiastes 10, Exodus 33, 2 Chronicles 32, Daniel 27, Hebrews 2, Proverbs 18, Ecclesiastes 3, Proverbs 24, Psalm 46, African-American spiritual based on verses in Jeremiah.)


  1. Your Psalm is beautiful, Mavis, and so is this rendition of a great hymn. LysJK