Sunday, September 27, 2009

A Balm for healing...

Life is full of disappointments and discouragements: some small, some large.

Despite my general positive outlook, some times I get "bummed out."

I'm not an avid fan of any particular team, but I like to watch sports: especially football. A week or so ago, I watched two games, and the teams I wanted to win, lost. In the final minutes. It was disheartening. It was discouraging. It was only football, but I found myself feeling a bit blue. Woe is me.

(You may be laughing. That's okay. It is a bit pitiful and shallow that such trivialities should effect my mood. But perhaps you're laughing at yourself too?)

Too often, we let the little stuff get to us. Unexpected bumps trip us up.

Being a proactive problem solver, a day or so later, I retreated to my newly fenced-in enclave with my Bible. I discovered a few decades ago, that "God is the lifter up of my head." Just like a parent who puts their over-sized hand under a child's chin to make the look up, so the Parent-God does the same for me. If I let Him.

I've been reading through the New Testament. I'm in Luke. As I was reading, in my slight funk, I came across some words of Jesus that struck home: "I came not to destroy men's lives, but to save them."

Those words were the balm my soul needed. The smoldering feelings of disappointment, loss, and helplessness that had been ignited by observing a couple of football games suddenly ceased.

God wasn't out to fill my life with destruction: small or large.

The logical conclusion of my mild despair was that God wasn't good. Though I didn't speak the words, the emotional conclusion I had reached was that disappointments, hurts, and heartache awaited me. (And it wasn't just about football.)

I had lost sight of who God is: Good.

"If God be for us, who can be against us?" God is for us, not against us.

A simple phrase from an old story lifted my heart, restored my faith, and improved my mood. In the week or so since encountering the words, "I came not to destroy men's lives, but to save them," I have reapplied the balm repeatedly, and I have benefited.

Life is full of disappointments and discouragements. But as one poet wrote hundreds of years ago: "There is a Balm in Gilead."

That Balm still reaches out to wounded hearts, discouraged souls, and downcast sports fans. Even me. Even you.

There is a Balm in Gilead.


  1. Thank you Don for this healing reminder. I love your image of God lifting up our chin and helping us feel better. We need His healing balm always. We are so lucky that we know that He is there to lift us up. I have to not let my human frailties and distractions to keep me from remembering that He is my #1 fan!!

  2. hm, i've been trying not to sweat the unexpected bumps. Not always easy, but those words do help indeed.

    (BTW, I think your dog could eat my for breakfast, for sure!)

  3. I've used the lifting up of the head image and the stubborn child who would rather be left to pout. Enjoyed entering your enclave, if that picture of the side yard was it.

  4. Don-

    I especially like the comparison between a parent lifting up a child's chin and God lifting up our chins. The image is powerful and relatable.

    Sorry about your teams. If it's any consolation (although you already found some) The New Chapter is a HUGE football fan and can get pretty bent out of shape when the Packers don't do well. In other words, you are definitely NOT alone! :)

  5. @September: Reminders are good. "I have to not let my human frailties and distractions to keep me from remembering that He is my #1 fan!!" I like that comment. And it has Biblical backing, "...if God be for us, who can be against us?"

    @Chase: Unexpected bumps are bothersome. I think the key is not to let them become worrisome. (But sometimes, that's difficult.) I think having a child-like faith in our Father helps. (My dog, Heidi, is certainly full-sized.)

    @Dennis: Indeed the "enclave" is my newly fenced-in side yard. I like having get-aways, even if I don't use them daily, I feel better knowing I can.

    @MissH: Glad you liked the imagery: I did too. Thanks for the consolations re: football. I know I'm not alone, and I know I'm not the worse. Part of the human psyche just doesn't like losing. But life has dis-appointments that dis-courage us, even when we know better. That's why we need regular en-couragement.