Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there?
Why then is there no healing for the wound of my people? (NIV)
* * *
Dr., Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Speech/sermon delivered at Mount Pisgah Missionary Baptist Church
Chicago, Illinois – August 27, 1967
- Jeremiah 8:22 through the eyes of Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
- God: A ‘balm in Gilead’
The final paragraphs of the speech:
Don’t be a fool. Recognize your dependence on God. (Yes, sir) As the days become dark and the nights become dreary, realize that there is a God who rules above.
And so I’m not worried about tomorrow. I get weary every now and then. The future looks difficult and dim, but I’m not worried about it ultimately because I have faith in God. Centuries ago Jeremiah raised a question, “Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there?” He raised it because he saw the good people suffering so often and the evil people prospering. (Yes, sir) Centuries later our slave foreparents came along. (Yes, sir) And they too saw the injustices of life, and had nothing to look forward to morning after morning but the rawhide whip of the overseer, long rows of cotton in the sizzling heat. But they did an amazing thing. They looked back across the centuries and they took Jeremiah’s question mark and straightened it into an exclamation point. And they could sing, “There is a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole. (Yes) There is a balm in Gilead to heal the sin-sick soul.” And there is another stanza that I like so well: “Sometimes (Yeah) I feel discouraged.” (Yes)
And I don’t mind telling you this morning that sometimes I feel discouraged. (All right) I felt discouraged in Chicago. As I move through Mississippi and Georgia and Alabama, I feel discouraged. (Yes, sir) Living every day under the threat of death, I feel discouraged sometimes. Living every day under extensive criticisms, even from Negroes, I feel discouraged sometimes. [applause] Yes, sometimes I feel discouraged and feel my work’s in vain. But then the holy spirit (Yes) 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.” God bless you. [applause] [Emphasis, bold and red type, added]
Photo Credit: Digital Collections, UIC Library/Flickr – CC
Address Credit: The Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute (Stanford University). The Institute’s endowment supports programs that serve as an enduring link between Stanford’s research resources and King’s dream of global peace with social justice.
Scripture Credit: Biblestudytools.com