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Medicine For The Soul

“Bless the LORD, O my soul . . . Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases.” — Psalm 103:1, 3

In the pioneer days of our country when peddlers traveled from town to town with their wares, some sold a cure-all elixir. This was a tonic which, it was claimed, cured whatever ailed you (they didn’t have the ‘truth in advertising’ law back then!).

This bit of Americana crossed my mind as I was thinking about a recent television ad selling a pill which claimed to make the sad and distressed person feel happy.

To be sure, we are living in an age where physical health has greatly benefited from modern-day medicines. However, haven’t there been times when the medical community has crossed over the line by trying to provide a cure for a spiritual soul-problem with man-made medicine?

King David tells of suffering from a dreadful spiritual disease that robbed him of happiness of living and had a detrimental effect upon his entire being. The disease is called ‘sin’–sin which is unrepented of and therefore unforgiven.

David relates how sorely distressed he was because of this: “When I kept silent, my bones grew old through my groaning all the day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was turned into the drought of summer” (Ps. 32:3-4). — The medical doctors both then and now do not have a cure for this ailment.

The Great Physician

While man does not possess a cure-all for whatever ails us, yet the LORD God is able to heal all our diseases of both body and soul. Jesus, our Savior-God, is known by His followers as being the Great Physician.

In the Old Testament the Son of God tells of His being sent into this world “to heal the brokenhearted . . . to comfort all who mourn . . . to give them . . . the oil of joy for mourning” (Is. 61:1-3).

In order that Jesus might supply us with perfect healing (even His saving health, Ps. 67:2), it was necessary for Him to be infected with the accumulative sin-disease of us all, to be tormented by its ill effects, and to suffer the eternally deadly consequences of it.

The prophet Isaiah expressed this vicarious work of Jesus with these words: “Surely He has borne our griefs (lit. our sicknesses) and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed” (Is. 53:4-5).

When Jesus was on the cross suffering great pain and agony of body, soul, and mind, He refused to drink the bitter sedative offered to Him. Instead He willingly and lovingly drank the bitter cup of suffering to the very last drop–so that our souls might be healed and our spirits uplifted with true happiness.

David, the penitent sinner, tells of the wonderful happiness he experienced through the Savior’s healing of his soul: “Blessed (lit. happy) is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed (happy) is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit” (Ps. 32:1-2).

When your spirit is saddened, and your heart is weighed down with the spiritual disease of the guilt of sin, don’t look for happiness in a pill. Rather look in faith to the Great Physician who says: “Be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you” (Mt. 9:2).

–Pastor Mark Gullerud