The Stones Themselves Will Start to Sing: Sometimes I Feel Discouraged

Sometimes I feel discouraged and think my work’s in vain,
but then the holy spirit revives my soul again.

~ African-American Spiritual “There is a Balm in Gilead”

Since my people are crushed, I am crushed;
    I mourn, and horror grips me.
 Is there no balm in Gilead?
    Is there no physician there?
Why then is there no healing
    for the wound of my people?

Jeremiah 8:21-22

At the edge of the woods on our farm stands a stately black cottonwood tree, also known by locals as a “Balm of Gilead” tree in our region. The leaf buds this time of year have a sticky fragrant resin that native peoples prepared as a salve ointment to treat various wounds and skin conditions.

We never have tried harvesting any of the cottonwood resin, but I’ve found the presence of this grand tree in the field seems balm enough when I find myself discouraged. The tall tree adapts so dramatically over the course of the seasons, remaining a fixture of stability and beauty whether golden in the autumn, blowing cottony seeds in the spring, bare with snow in the winter or flourishing with summer leaves.
It is steadfast and reassuring.

Discouragement is so familiar to us, a constant pandemic companion, and certainly is rampant over the past week with images of war filling our screens. No tree resin is capable of fighting a virus or stopping a war but the balm of Gilead in Jeremiah has the power of the Holy Spirit, able to heal our sin sick souls.

The love of our Savior is the balm for us, the wounded.
We will become whole again.

cottonwood seeds
cottonwood seed

This year’s Lenten theme for Barnstorming is a daily selection from songs and hymns about Christ’s profound sacrifice on our behalf.

If we remain silent about Him, the stones themselves will shout out and start to sing (Luke 19:40).

In His name, may we sing…

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

Sometimes I feel discouraged and think my works in vain,
but then the holy spirit revives my soul again.

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

Don’t ever feel discouraged for Jesus is your friend
and if you lack for knowledge he’ll ne’er refuse to lend.

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3 thoughts on “The Stones Themselves Will Start to Sing: Sometimes I Feel Discouraged

  1. “This year’s Lenten theme for Barnstorming is a daily selection from songs and hymns about Christ’s profound sacrifice on our behalf.”

    So beautiful, thank you!! Praise God for this Gift!

    And on a sidenote about the Cottonwood trees, I thought you might enjoy this tidbit from:

    https://treespiritwisdom.com/tree-spirit-wisdom/cottonwood/

    Cottonwood signals a time of hope, healing and transformation.

    A Native American legend tells of how the cottonwood tree first gave birth to the stars by holding star seeds within its branches. Buds shaped like five-pointed stars emerge in early spring from the branches. In late spring female cottonwoods birth their cotton-like seeds into the air, filling the sky with magical “stars.” In winter, the stars sleep within the branches. When an upper branch is broken a five-pointed star is revealed within it as the home of star seeds.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for this today, dear Emily.
    Both Jeremiah and The Balm of Gilead’ take on new meaning for m=.
    The World so needs the Balm that our suffering Savior bestows upon our hungry, sin-starved souls.
    We need only to ask….

    Liked by 1 person

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