And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat.
1 Kings 19:5 (KJV)
The juniper tree in the bible is a marker for the time when the prophet Elijah had an “I’ve had enough of this” moment and asked His Father to take him home. If the tree above was similar to the one under which Elijah sat, slept, ate and slept some more (NET), it would be an appropriate analogy for Elijah’s state of mind: windswept, gnarled, and weary, showing the weather beaten years for all to see.
The juniper tree also serves as a billboard for tenacity: this evergreen tree flourishes in the wilderness, a very harsh environment; it is reshaped by the constant ravages of the wind. It is bent but not broken, its boughs remains attached to the trunk and the secure supply found in its roots, and its leaves remain green. It is flexible enough to survive every unexpected storm and still stands to provide shelter to the weary.
When Elijah left this unlikely oasis, he went on a forty day journey up the rugged terrain of Mount Horeb, in the strength of that experience. We may not realize it initially, but our difficult times are meant to strengthen us for the next leg of our journey.
In our “I give up” moments, our Father has strategically created refuge in the wilderness, reminding us that He provides. He aligns us with people who themselves bear the marks of survival in their willingness to show mercy and compassion. In this refreshing place, He lets us know that it’s okay to rest a while and regain our strength, as He becomes our source of support and sustenance.
After a while, we must keep going in the strength we have gained and keep heading in the right direction – forward.
Prayer/Journal: Father I thank you that when I am weary you provide refuge and refreshing for my soul. I am grateful for the examples of perseverance you have shown me (recall your own examples in your journal/prayer). With this in mind, I am determined to go forward in your strength.
Today I am gaining strength for my journey!
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