There is a hymn call "There is a Balm in Gilead" and the refrain is pretty powerful: There is a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole, there is a balm in Gilead to heal the sin-sick soul...
A great hymn. For those who have been in church recently you may have heard a sermon on Job, currently lectionary is following this fun-loving fellow (note the sarcasm). Job is a righteous man in God's eyes, perhaps more so then Abraham and he lives in Uz, which is translated as to reflect or meditate. This book is one meant to be reflected on and to give us pause. In Job we meet a man who because of Satan experiences a lot of pain and suffering in a short period of time and begins to ask the question that still plaques us today "WHY? WHY is there suffering? Why do bad things happen to people who seem to be good?" After several days of being good pastoral care friends, his friends lose ground when they finally speak with him and try to get him to admit to living a bad life. They are assuming that if these things are happening then Job must not be as righteous as he says he is, there must be hidden things. Perhaps the judgment we find ourselves offering others? But Job in desperation pleads to God.
As faithful people - or people searching - the good news is that there is a balm for our agony - Christ our Savior. This balm doesn't mean that our life is going to be all about the "easy" button or that our desires will be ours. Believing in Christ and following God does not entitled us to either an "easy button" or a "name that price tool" it does however entitle us to GRACE. And through grace our souls can be made whole or sin-sick soul can be saved.
Recently I had a raise Jewish, Communist, Russian and who studied Christianity ask me why there was evil in the world. When I took the easy way out and answer if there wasn't evil we wouldn't be able to know the shear wonder of God's love she kissed my hand. In her years no one ever tried to answer that question. Job asks this big question, why is there suffering and more importantly why is there senseless suffering. We are reminded in Job that even in the suffering God is there. God does not abandon but is instead there.
We cannot understand all that there is to know about our world or about God. We cannot proclaim to know the goodness of our lives or the blessing to be the only measure of our righteousness. However, we can know that God is there always for us. We can as faithful people find God even in the midst of our struggles but more importantly we can find grace! Through our faith in Christ, we can be whole. Sure we may still carry a scare around with us - but who doesn't? Christ is here to heal our souls to give us wholeness and to offer something not found on Earth - GRACE. Now that is something to rejoice in.
As everyone is getting ready to celebrate Halloween and the demons or scary things remember that the scariest and deepest places for us are those furthest from God's love. But rejoice in knowing that God does not abandon us, instead God continues to encourage us, strength us and give us hope. Let us know that our souls can be healed and made whole through Christ the Savior.