Over the long weekend, my backyard grew by about a third. Not because I purchased more property or because land grew where there was none, but because I got busy with my yard gloves and clippers. I didn’t realize our land went back as far as it does until the brush was cleared away. Now we can see all the way to the creek from the windows of our home and we are excited to clear out even more on the side of our home between us and our neighbors to give the yard a much more open and spacious feel.
That’s all good. What’s not good is that I wasn’t wearing long pants or long sleeves and now I have some itchy bumps on my limbs from being exposed to poison ivy. I knew there was some back there but apparently, I’m not as good at identifying it as I thought I was. I don’t remember ever having quite the reaction I’m having now. The recommended anti-itch cream even seems to make the little bumps that have popped up itchier. It seems best to just avoid touching those spots at all. The worst part is telling my kid not to touch me for fear they will burst more blisters than they already have.
God is a God of freedom who wants us to have wide-open spaces to enjoy. We were created for the abundance of the Garden of Eden where only good things grow. Of course, weeds of sin have sprouted in our lives. Some we inherited from our families and friends before we knew better, some sin weeds even looked like good stuff to us so we grabbed it all on our own and now they’re taking over our lives. Suddenly we are itchy and trapped in a cycle of scratching and scarring and we aren’t looking or feeling so good. We even feel the need to keep people at a distance because our sores are sensitive.
We are meant to be in this world but not of this world. We have to deal with things we were never meant to deal with because of the poison ivy of sin that brings disease everywhere. We need to have proper boundaries in our lives to protect us from the deadly effects of sin. There are points where we’ve all had our guards down and now we have painful, itchy sore spots in our lives.
Jeremiah 8:22 asks, “Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then is there no healing for the wound of my people?” This verse is a reminder that implies that healing is available for God’s people if they will just utilize it. It’s like it’s asking, if there is an available remedy to your issues, why are you still sick?
If you were physically sick or there was something to protect you from some sort of plague I would want you to take advantage of that solution. The same goes for your mental, emotional and spiritual health. Medicines on this planet are not typically 100% effective though they are very helpful and often life-saving. I want to remind you that there is a cure that is always efficacious for whatever sin sickness ails you. Sin, by the way, is truly the root of all our problems. Jesus has been called the Balm of Gilead. He is the Great Physician. He is the fulfillment of all our needs and hopes. He once made land appear where there was none. He healed people with leprosy and set people free from their demons. He brought people from death to life and restored broken relationships and I assure you that He won’t fail to bring healing to you if you go to Him and ask for help, trusting that He will.
He will heal you and counsel you on what needs to be removed from your life ASAP so you can stay healed. He’ll tell you how to expel it so that you can experience the freedom that He always wanted you to have. May we come to Him and do whatever He says and be healed and be advocates that point others to the Healer we’ve found. There is a Balm in Gilead, be itchy no more, be free of your rash. You will get better if you just go to Him. Walk-ins are welcome, your appointment and freedom are just a prayer away. - Pastor Nick