This is the final edit on Saturday, September 18. I had a tough struggle this week with Jeremiah and my own life, so I am very late getting this out.
The phrase “balm in
I believe the tragic play highlights things that we seek as
a balm that really do not solve our problems.
Drugs are at the center of the story, which is the most dangerous balm
people seek for their troubles. We have
spent billions of dollars combating terrorism, when drunk drivers create more
than four 9/11 scale tragedies per year. Taking on debt in the hopes of getting
out of our financial problems is another false balm, whether the money comes
from loan sharks or Master Card or financing our public debt by selling
Jeremiah speaks to me because many of the issues today are potential cataclysms moving in slow motion. World population growth is slowly using up all kinds of resources-oil, forests, iron, farmland and dozens of rare earth metals needed for industrial processes. We keep wanting more and more, and it is becoming economically unsustainable and environmentally disastrous. Thomas Friedman wrote a column in the New York Times last Sunday titled “We Are Number 11!” that had this to say about where our problems came from:
We had a values breakdown — a national epidemic of get-rich-quickism and something-for-nothingism. …Ask yourself: What made our Greatest Generation great? First, the problems they faced were huge, merciless and inescapable: the Depression, Nazism and Soviet Communism. Second, the Greatest Generation’s leaders were never afraid to ask Americans to sacrifice. Third, that generation was ready to sacrifice, and pull together, for the good of the country. And fourth, because they were ready to do hard things
Our generation’s leaders never dare utter the word “sacrifice.” All solutions must be painless. Which drug would you like? A stimulus from Democrats or a tax cut from Republicans? A national energy policy? Too hard. For a decade we sent our best minds not to make computer chips in Silicon Valley but to make poker chips on Wall Street, while telling ourselves we could have the American dream — a home — without saving and investing, for nothing down and nothing to pay for two years.
I like Thomas Friedman and am more like him than Jeremiah. Friedman and I are both essentially optimists who believe that with sound decisions, mutual sacrifice, courage and creativity, we can still solve our most intractable problems before it is too late. But the longer we wait to solve our problems, both national and personal, the harder it becomes. I realize that Jeremiah was ultimately right in his day, which motivates me in my own.
I believe there is a balm in
I still believe Jesus is the answer for the wounds of the
world and for my own wounds. He is my
Way, my Truth, and my Life. The Balm in
Sometimes I feel discouraged and think my work's in vain; but then the Holy Spirit revives my soul again.