"We looked for peace, but no good came; and for a time of health, and behold trouble!
When I would comfort myself against sorrow, my heart is faint in me.
The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved."
Jeremiah 8:15, 18, 20
Life feels this way sometimes. We wait and work, trying for something good, and it falls through, or we want to cheer up and we can't, because things are just that bad... or we feel like everything is over and we failed. We did our best, it wasn't enough, and it is time to give up. Sometimes, probably often, we bring some of these feelings on ourselves because of sin. Losing the Spirit means losing some of that hope that was getting us through. It could be that one trial that is in exactly our weak spot, and even though we keep saying we are going to stand up to it this time, we cave anyway. Or it is a huge trial that knocks us over and instead of standing up to take another blow, we decide to just lie there and catch our breath for a while. Sometimes it doesn't have a lot to do with us. It is a medical, career, or relationship emergency that we didn't cause, but we definitely have to jump in and mop up the mess that it caused in our lives. This chapter ends with a verse that begins "Is there no balm in Gilead?" ... and we wonder too, if there could possibly be a solution to what seems like the end of the world.
In today's verses, the chapter or even the next few chapters don't have an automatic resolution for us. It stays bleak for a while... but because we have the entire book, we know there is a resolution eventually, and I guess that is what I wanted to remind us all of today. God knows there will be bad times... times when we've lost hope, times when we're without the Spirit, times when we've screwed up our own lives, or feel like whatever happened to us is completely unrecoverable... impossible to come back from, and there is no healing or solution that can possibly help. And God also knows that isn't true. The chapter continues, the book continues, and in the end, as the scriptures tell us, the Messiah returns and makes everything okay. We know the ending, and it is amazing. ... The exact same thing is true in our individual lives. It might not happen in the next few pages, or even in this chapter, but somewhere in our story there is healing, and hope, and a triumphant and happy resolution for anyone who keeps making the effort to turn the pages and allow God rights of authorship. There *is* a balm in Gilead. Today, let's ask God what happens next, and work towards it.