Monday, March 4, 2013
Lessons From The Broom Tree
I Kings 19: 3-7
When Elijah saw how things were, he ran for dear life to Beersheba, far in the south of Judah. He left his young servant there and then went on into the desert another day’s journey. He came to a lone broom bush and collapsed in its shade, wanting in the worst way to be done with it all—to just die: “Enough of this, God! Take my life—I’m ready to join my ancestors in the grave!” Exhausted, he fell asleep under the lone broom bush. Suddenly an angel shook him awake and said, ‘Get up and eat!’
He looked around and, to his surprise; right by his head was a loaf of bread baked on some coals and a jug of water. He ate the meal and went back to sleep. The angel of God came back, shook him awake again, and said, “Get up and eat some more—you’ve got a long journey ahead of you.”
For the second time in two years I had lost my job. It disappeared as the result of a dreaded word that is meant to be kind...an “it’s not your fault” word..."restructuring". Truthfully it was not kind at all.
As I walked into the quiet house, I found myself thinking about Elijah and the broom tree. What lessons could I learn from his experience?
1) We all need a broom tree once in awhile.
“He came to a lone broom bush and collapsed in its shade.” Elijah found a place where he felt safe. The broom tree can be our “safe” place to rest and recover. In difficult times, we need a sanctuary.
2) We may be exhausted. Take time to rest.
Elijah literally ran for his life and collapsed in the shade of a broom tree. Like Elijah, we can crawl under the broom tree to rest. There we can take the time to heal and be gentle with ourselves.
3) We may feel really terrible. This too is temporary.
We are told that Elijah wanted “in the worst way to be done with it all” (v. 3) Loss in our own lives, including job loss can take a healthy bite out of our self esteem. In difficulty many of us are just ready for it to be over! As we continue to read the story of Elijah, we learn that this time of trouble passed for him. Our troubles will pass as well.
4) We are free to lament! God can take it.
Elijah told God exactly like it was – “Enough of this God”, he said. As Elijah, we can began a conversation with God and pour out our troubles to him. Weep, wail, and cry out! Often we think we must “suck it up” and not show how we really feel. Elijah was frank about his feelings.
5) We may be afraid.
When disaster strikes, we have a lot in common with Elijah. While most of the time we are not running for our lives, nonetheless, we may still be scared. Like Elijah, can we sit in sorrow and be quiet in fear? Can we welcome fear as we do joy? Can we acknowledge the presence of fear without demanding that it be gone? Are we able to welcome grief as an affliction...as an affliction that draws us closer to God?
6) We will find provision.
Elijah awoke to find the food that he needed. Likewise, we can trust God to supply our every need. Elijah asked God to let him die, but instead was given food and water. He received so much more than he asked for. We also can experience the miracle of waking up and finding that our needs have been met.
As with Elijah we too can learn the lessons of the broom tree. We can know for certain that our God will provide for us when we are facing dark and difficult times.
grace and peace...