There is no escaping pain.
From annoying aches to agonizing ailments to the sharp arrows of antagonists, life hurts sometimes—often, in fact.

For many the morning requires an inventory of stiff muscles and joints, a rubbing of sore eyes, and a deep draw of air to resupply the blood with oxygen. All of this gaping and stretching and bending and flexing needs to be chased by a good cup of coffee to get us going.

It wasn’t that way in Eden.
Adam and Eve must have sprung from sleep to consciousness with ease. Surely there were no stiff joints, aching muscles, or wounded minds to hinder the beginning of their day. Then one day Adam and the Mrs. had the wrong breakfast and pain registered its enrollment in the human experience.

In the normal course of things, pain increases with age. We are blessed with pills and ointments to fight its effects as the years pile up. In other cases, the young suffer pain and it hurts us to watch them. We don’t understand why it must be so.


  • the strong are struck down to weakness,
  • the able are reduced to disability, and
  • the good are afflicted by evil in ways that defy logic.

Sometimes we can see the cause of the effect and other times there is no cause but the effect remains terrible.

As each day begins, we must do something about our pain.
Whether it is the pain of wear and weakness, the pain of disease and disability, or the pain of the human heart, we must deal with it.

  • Has Jehovah Jireh (“The Lord Who Provides”) provided a place for our pain?
  • Does Jehovah Rophe (“The Lord Who Heals”) send healing and help flowing in our direction?
  • Does the Great Physician still make house calls?

The Balm in Gilead
Better than pills or ointments—though God is not offended when use the healing power of His creation—is His lovingkindess. It is better than life, the Scripture says.

  • He entered this wounded world precisely to feel our pain.
  • Just as the suffering crowds moved Him when He walked this earth, He is compassionate toward us.
  • His wounded back, striped with the Roman whip, took our pain.

By those stripes we are healed. Oh, there is no doubt of this. The only details unknown to us are when and where.

  • Now and here? Many, many times—Praise the Lord!
  • In heaven for sure!

There is no cancer there, no festering wounds, no brokenness, no weakness, no debilitating disease of any sort. We leave the annoying aches and agonizing ailments behind when we cross that river.

But what of the sharp arrows of antagonists? Does he care about them?

It is most amazing to think that our undeserved pain is a point of relationship with Christ.

Completely innocent of all cause, He suffered the pain of the effects of all sin. If we follow Him, this will inevitably cause us pain. Unlike the affliction of the body, the pain of ministry is a strange privilege, a way of identifying with Christ.

So, stretch those sleepy muscles, sip that sumptuous air and swill that simmering coffee! Even with pain you will greet this day with the strength of Jesus. Remember those who suffer greater pain than yours. Pray for those who seek to hurt you and hide safe within the wounds of the Savior.

Jeremiah 8:21-22 NKJV
For the hurt of the daughter of my people I am hurt. I am mourning;
Astonishment has taken hold of me. Is there no balm in Gilead, Is there no physician there? Why then is there no recovery For the health of the daughter of my people?
1 Peter 4:12-17
Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. … if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.
Philippians 3:10-11
I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.

Lord Jesus, because of fall of mankind into sin, life is a painful experience. Sometimes the reasons for pain are clear and sometimes suffering is a mystery, adding to the pain. Whether I know the reason for the pain of the day or it is beyond my comprehension, I know I am not alone. You do not know pain from a distance or in theory only. Like us, You were born in pain. As a child you hurt Yourself like any other child. You worked until Your muscles ached like ours do. You identify with my pain. Thank You, Lord. It is good to know that You are with me when I hurt. I know Your tender touch. Someday You will dry all our tears. Until that day, Your nearness is comfort in times of pleasure or pain.

There Is a Balm in Gilead


There is a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole;
There is a balm in Gilead to heal the sin-sick soul.

1. Sometimes I feel discouraged, And think my work’s in vain,
But then the Holy Spirit revives my soul again.


2. If you cannot preach like Peter, Ify you cannot pray like Paul,
You can tell the love of Jesus, and say, “He died for all.”

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

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