"Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then is there no healing for the wound of my people?" - Jeremiah 8:22 (NIV)
We have health facilities in just about every city. Why then are people still sick and suffering?
Churches, synagogues, mosques and other faith communities are prevalent throughout most regions. Why then are so many living without hope and spiritual support?
Recovery Centers are available in most areas. Why then are so many still addicted to drugs?
Recreational facilities are available and often free of charge in most communities. Why then are so many people not getting proper exercise?
Notwithstanding the serious barriers to affordable, accessible health care in America, there is still something to be said for health resources that are available, but never accessed.
The question raised by the prophet is rhetorically indicting. The ubiquitous presence of God assures that there is a balm; there is medicine in Gilead. Yet the people of Gilead remain broken, weary and wounded.
Healing never really begins with medicine or therapy or health facilities. Healing begins within the mind and spirit of individuals who must recognize their brokenness and possess a real desire to experience life differently.
No one can teach a student who doesn't want to learn. No one can rescue an abused person who does not believe that she/he deserves a life that is free of abuse. No one can save a nation that does not recognize its need for repentance, reconciliation and reformation.
Harriett Tubman said: "I freed a thousand slaves. I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves."
Jesus said: "Those who are well do not need a physician."
God, inspire us to allow your healing to begin in us. Today. Amen.
Kenneth L. Samuel is Pastor of Victory for the World Church, Stone Mountain, Georgia.