The Balm of Gilead

She had stood tall, proclaimed her thoughts, and found herself cast out into a wilderness place. She had been brave voicing her opinions to her father, the unchallenged patriarch of the family. Her opinion defied his, valid though it was. Now here she was, in a valley of dry bones. Bones not literally that she could see, but a representation of how she felt. Void of water, void of life, void of the love of her father. She had never in all her years experienced such a thing. It was horrible; it was desolate. It was like a living death. She had an inkling that perhaps she knew a hint of what Jesus might have felt when, crucified, He cried, “My Father! Why hast Thou forsaken me?”

In her mind’s eye a vision arose, brief but poignantly clear. The desolation, the isolation; she felt bereft. A valley, arid and dead, parched with heat where nothing grew. Yet she held to her decision. She must. Did she have the right to her own opinion? Yes; yes, she did. And as an adult, married woman, it was high time she exercised her right.

The days wore on and the woman walked on, one foot in the busyness of her growing family’s life, and the other in the grief of separation from her father. She knew not if he would ever speak to her again. Yet to stand her ground she felt hesitant to approach him. It was a quandary for her, especially as both their personalities were strong and very much alike. What was a daughter to do? She prayed continually, sought her husband’s counsel, and after nearly two weeks, that of a counselor at their church. “Write your father a letter,” she was told. “Affirm to him how much you love him, and that you hope your relationship can be restored. Ask him to contact you by a certain date, and if he chooses not to, that you will know he has rejected you.”

With no little anxiety the woman penned and mailed that letter. Her heart ached with sadness, and hope, as she waited restlessly for his response. Then suddenly the very next day the phone rang. “Oh, my daughter! I love you so!” Oh, such words! A balm to her ears, to her heart, to her soul. Like the precious healing ointment of old, the balm of Gilead, the true healing balm that only comes from the love of the Heavenly Father had been poured over her through her earthly father, filling and nourishing those dry, barren places, filling the wastelands of her heart, and anointing joy to her spirit once again. She felt whole suddenly. For through her suffering she had learned this truth: we are created to live in the grace and blessings of the Father, the Source of all life, in Him, the very Balm of Gilead. Indeed, to marinate to the depths of our spirit and soul in His love. For without Him we cannot be whole.

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