at the foot of the broom bush / even if it’s crawling

Fun fact: I love how detailed the Lord is to include specific trees through out the Bible.

I tend to like my books full of the juicy deets. Make those sentences the length of three paragraphs, please. I want to read and be entering into what I’m reading. I want the perfect words as the waters ripple, jumping over one another as the current pulls them onward. Sure, I can think up things myself. But it’s so much more fun when someone nails an emotion, situation, or whatever it is, with just the right words.

So as I read the account of Elijah and the broom tree/bush, naturally, I had to Google the specs of a broom tree. Upon the search, here are a couple times the broom tree is specified in the Bible:

In Job 30: 3-4: Job refers to the broom tree, describing a place of desolation and desperation, as the men who used to serve him mocked him, lost all their strength, and were left with the diet of broom tree roots. Broom tree roots aren’t known for their impeccable taste, but rather, for their lack of appeal. Starving people would eat them because they could glean some nutrients. Thats about it.

Psalm 120 compares the Lord’s judgement to the burning coals of the broom tree used to punish the lying tongue. As broom trees are known to burn hot we are reminded, even in the face of punishment, the Lord’s perfect refining fire being made known by a quality burning material.

In Genesis 21, we find a very desperate mother, Hagar. She’s been kicked out of her master’s house (who happened to also be the father of her child), and she is trying to find a well in the desert with no luck. When she reaches the point of complete despair and hopelessness, she sets her son beneath a broom tree to die and goes to hide from him as she cannot bear the idea of watching him die.

Elijah’s encounter with the broom tree bears much resemblance to these other stories. He had just got done hiding from an order put out by King Ahab and his wife, Jezebel, to kill all the Lord’s prophets. After being a man on the run, with all other prophets of the Lord dead accept for a hundred, he confronts Ahab, arranging all the prophets of Baal, the king, and all the Israelites to meet him at Mount Carmel. After the 450 prophets lost a challenge against the God of Israel and Elijah, all 450 of Baal’s prophets were slaughtered by Elijah, and once the king came home and told his wife what happened, she was not too happy, quickly sending a message to Elijah that she would return the favor by the next day.

Terrified, Elijah ran to hide in the wilderness beneath a broom tree, begging the Lord to take his life.

The broom tree isn’t just a plant. It’s a place.

The broom tree is the wall we hit when we can’t get beyond our circumstances. It’s the end of our rope where there aren’t anymore plan bs, and there aren’t any promising views on the horizon. Its those moments in time where we feel everything inside us is officially boiling over and we’re angry, overwhelmed, and in complete desperation.

And it’s where the Lord comes in and give us our daily bread to get to the other side.

In Corinthians, Paul talks about how in our weakness, Christ’s strength is most effective and bright.

Elijah falls asleep under the tree, I imagine after a good cry (everyone knows those bring the best sleeps), and awakens to an Angel. “Get up and eat this bread and drink this, or you won’t be able to make it on your journey.”

The Lord sends an angel to meet Elijah at his lowest point with communion. What grace. When we are in our worst, lowest, most desperate place, that His strength and shoulder will meet us there, light through every broken crack.

And where does Elijah go? He goes to the mountain of the Lord, traveling for forty days and forty nights on that one meal the angel brought.

When we are in those desperate, broken, hopeless places, and we feel there isn’t any fight left in us to go on, His communion will carry us. It’s not saying it will be easy. I highly doubt Elijah didn’t experience hunger pangs along the way. But he KNEW there was only one resolve, and he saw the fast worthy.

Broom bush moments will come, but so will the golden glow of His glory. Don’t allow the darkness nor the lack of view of the promise keep you in the position of hopelessness. Turn that desperation to movement. Even if it’s crawling.

It’s your turn, love. Break the silence. Spill your guts.

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