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Ann Farabee: The Balm


Poor little fellow. It was a lot to bear for a three-year-old. Fears and tears filled his eyes, as he yelled, “I got a splinter!” Screaming and thrashing about ensued, followed by, “It hurts!” Getting him to let us look at it was the next challenge. Letting us help with removal was going to be an even more difficult task.

We tried reasoning. You don’t want an infection, do you?

We tried to sneak in from behind. The element of surprise did not work.

We tried to force him. That got tricky.

We tried taking a break. Peaceful — but not helpful.

We tried holding him down. Not a success. Perhaps a slight injury. Not to him — to me.

Nothing would work if he would not receive the help. The splinter remained.

A splinter can be a small thing that breaks off from a larger thing and gets stuck. If it does not come out, it can disintegrate, spread, become fully embedded, and infected. It can alter our actions and movements. It can hurt. It can create problems, for it does not need to be there.

Realizing that our personal efforts were not enough, we reached out to a pharmacist who said the words we needed to hear, “There is a balm that helps.”

It was named ichthammol. The black, sticky, tar-looking stuff flowed out like a gift from God onto the splinter — once our little guy was willing to receive it. We covered it with a bandaid, let it seep in, and begin the work it was going to do. Help had come. He became still, relaxed, soothed, and his fears and tears went away. He trusted in what the balm was doing for him. It was just the medicine he needed. Shortly after, the splinter was easily removed.

In God’s Word, balm was highly valuable. It was a specialty item. It was uncommon. It was fragrant. It eased pain. It produced healing. It had soothing powers. It never stopped working.

Some say balm is a metaphor of the healing power of God — pain can be eased and healing produced.

I say that a serious problem needs a serious medicine.

You would buy it if you or a loved one needed healing, wouldn’t you?

Yes, you would go right over to the pharmacy and pick it up.

Well, it is readily available for each of us. No — not ichthammol, but the healing balm God sends that can take a splinter out of our lives — or a boulder out of our heart.

But, just as a three-year-old reached out to accept the balm that would bring his healing, we have to reach our arms out to God to accept the balm that is for our healing.

Need healing? I think we all do.

Let’s pray:

As we stretch our hands to thee, Lord, we accept the balm that you are pouring over us. May it overtake us — body, mind, and spirit. May we believe — and receive — our physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual healing. Thank you for the balm that covers us and sends healing our way. Amen

Let me know how your healing goes.

Let me know how the balm flows.

Contact me at annfarabee@gmail.com

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