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Is There No Balm in Gilead?

Is There No Balm in Gilead?

Whenever my three-year-old daughter gets a scratch or a cut, she looks up at me with tearful eyes and asks, “Will it heal?” Every time, I can confidently tell her yes. Her body will rush in to knit the wound, leaving only the faintest mark.

But there are hurts that take longer than a few days to disappear, pain that leaves marks that don’t fade with time. We may wish for the balm of Gilead, a magical ointment we can apply to our trials and have them immediately soothed, but we rarely receive the instant healing we desire.

Elder Nielsen draws on the story of the man with palsy who was lowered from the roof into the crowded house where Jesus was eating. Jesus did heal the man’s body, but first he forgave him of his sins. Do you think there might have been a touch of bittersweetness in those moments before this man was able to walk? I wonder if, despite the showering of grace, the man thought to himself, “But I really wanted to walk!” before the Savior finished healing him.

Sometimes bitterness seeps into my moments of grace. Sometimes in my limited mortal perspective, I think I know the best way to heal my hurts. I get tired of the thorns in my flesh and question if they really bring me closer to Christ. I get frustrated that I’m supposed to learn something from my trials when I just want my pain to stop.

When my daughter gets hurt, she wants a band-aid to cover her “owie,” but it’s nothing in comparison to the miraculous healing pathways happening in her cells. When I’m in a painful situation, I want it to go away, but if I allow the Savior to step in as the balm of Gilead, He will help me make changes in my spirit that go far beyond the surface healing I desire. Sometimes that process takes longer than I hope and I find myself wondering if I’ll ever find relief. In those moments, I’m learning to trust my Physician.

-Lorren Lemmons




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