Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church - Marshfield, WI

Lent Devotional - Feb 28, 2023

Hymn: “Jesus, Grant That Balm and Healing” (LSB #421, v. 1)

Jesus, grant that balm and healing
In Your holy wounds I find,
Ev’ry hour that I am feeling
Pains of body and of mind.
Should some evil thought within
Tempt my treach’rous heart to sin,
Show the peril, and from sinning
Keep me from its first beginning.

When you come to understand that Johann was suffering pain in his throat as he sang these words; when you understand his illnesses as a child, and when you understand that very recently, he suffered from an infection in his eyes, you know that he means what he says when he writes “every hour that I am feeling pains of body and of mind.”

In those moments of pain in body and mind, our defenses are lowered to temptation. Johann knows this all too well. He writes, “Should some evil thought within, tempt my treacherous heart to sin.”
Temptation always presents our sinful cravings as a solution to our problems of pain and suffering. Our own sinful flesh tells us that the cravings and the lusts of our body will be a moment of escape in those times of pain and suffering, and often we give in. We fall into the trap that does not ease mind and body, but only afflicts and torments it more with sorrow and grief. You can almost see the twisting smile appear on the devil’s face as he loves to torment us further and to make us the agents of our own suffering.

Shown the peril, we turn to God to reveal to us the pain that will come. How often in the moments of temptation does some part of us realize that the temptation we might cave into will not give us the satisfaction and the relief that we want? It is a voice that speaks to us from God showing us the reward of sin. To see the outcome might help turn us from the enticement. To know that the siren call ends with more suffering and our destruction leads us to call upon God’s mercy to keep me from its first beginning.
As my own grandfather was dying of cancer, he noted to me that it was not the last cigarette that killed him. It was the first. So it is that the first moment of temptation is when it needs to be squashed. The toying with temptation will only cause us to give in. And so, we pray that in our sufferings we may meditate instead on the suffering of Jesus Christ. Every moment of pain we feel should be a time that we turn to look at the cross.

In fact, before even beginning into this hymn, before giving temptation the room to talk, Johann wrote for us the answer that we should all seek when he writes, “Jesus grant that balm and healing in your holy wounds I find.”
Where do we go to find healing and strength? Where in suffering do we turn our eyes? We turn to the Savior, who is not aloof to our temptations or sorrows, but faced every one of them and triumphed for us. That is our healing, it is in the suffering of Jesus Christ, where we find that our suffering finds redemption.
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