Between a Broom Bush and a Burning Bush


1 Kings 19:3–5 (NIV)

Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep.



And just like that, Elijah went from running a victory lap to running for his life. In no time, he fell from hero to zero. Every bounty hunter in the tri-state region had Jezebel in their ears and Elijah in their sites. 

What would he do? Would he assemble an entourage of security experts and body guards? Would he call for a “clarity council” of his closest advisors to “discern” his next steps? Would he call on the intercessory prayer team to spring into action? No. No. And no. 

Elijah was afraid and ran for his life.

We only know Elijah from the vantage point of history. At the time, Elijah was not really Elijah. No-one, including him, had any idea he would come to be known as a major (league) prophet. Yes, he was fulfilling the role of prophet, and while he had won a major victory, he was not singing “Victory in Jesus.” He was ready to throw in the towel. 

When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness.

Yes, he traveled a hundred miles, ditched his aide, and went into deep cover in the wilderness. Then this:

He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.”

Our mental models and spiritual maps tells us when we obey God things should go well; when we do hard things, life should get easier. I’m not sure where we get this idea. Could it be we somehow equate this way from glory to glory with the notion of going from good to great; of the “abundant life” as material prosperity. What if feeling crushed and despairing and abandoned and even destroyed are the signs you are in the center of the will of God? What if these are the mile markers on the pathway from glory to glory? 

Isn’t this exactly how Paul describes the road—only eight verses after he first coined the Spirit-inspired phrase: “from one degree of glory to another”? 

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. (2 Corinthians 4:8–9)

Some, perhaps many of you, reading today can identify with Elijah. You are way past tired and discouraged. You feel crushed and despairing. You are sitting underneath the broom bush with Elijah somewhere between, “I have had enough, Lord,” and “Take my life;”. Can I get a witness? 

What if . . . just what if— the harder life is the better Jesus gets? What if when we are feeling crushed, despairing, abandoned, and destroyed the Spirit is whispering, “No, but you are hard pressed on every side, perplexed, persecuted, and struck down.” It is in just such times as these when the willingness of the Holy Spirit rises up in the weak resignation of our spirits and cries out these inspired and revealed words, “NOT CRUSHED. NOT DESPAIRING. NOT ABANDONED. NOT DESTROYED. NOT TODAY, SATAN!” 

What if the whole goal of this way of glory is to bring us to these harrowingly sacred places where we say, “I have had enough Lord. Take my life.” It is in these places where “I have had enough Lord,” becomes the last nail in the coffin of the old self. It is in these places where “take my life” is transformed from giving up on one’s life to laying down one’s life and taking up the new creation–self in a whole new way. Giving up is resignation. Laying down is relinquishment. Truth be told, we often have to pass through layers of resignation in order to get down to the level of relinquishment. 

Bottom line: It is in the places between  “I have had enough, Lord” and “take my life”  where Jesus responds, “I thought you would never ask. I would be delighted.” This is the place between a broom bush and a burning bush. 

I’ll see you back here at the broom bush tomorrow with even better news and the most excellent way. 

This is the way—from glory to glory. 


Abba Father, we see in Elijah a man who was defeated and despairing. The truth is, he wanted to die. And we marvel at how your Spirit persevered in him. However, we also know that Elijah did not see what we see and know what we know. We live on the Jesus side of Elijah. We live on the Pentecost side of Elijah. We live in the extravagant resources of the age of the Spirit. How much more do you help us today not only in, but even because of, our weaknesses! Yes, I have had enough, Lord. Take my life, and let it be consecrated Lord to Thee!” Praying in Jesus’ name, amen.


How do you identify with this movement from “I have had enough” to “take my life,” and the difference between giving up on life and laying down one’s life; between resignation and relinquishment? Do you see the glory? 

P.S. It’s the last day of the month. . . 

And you know what that means. 

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For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt

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Farmer. Poet. Theologian. Jurist. Publisher. Seedbed's Sower-in-Chief.


  1. Amen! Yes, giving up, “I surrender all!”, this is what dying to oneself really entails. No, truly undergoing sanctification was never promised to be pain-free. This the difference between the Way of the cross and the way of triumphalism. May God grant us grace to see it through.

  2. Loss can be tough. Life changes. The answers to why aren’t clear. Reasons don’t stick.
    Then the Lord said during a prayer, “What you have lost, I have gained.”
    Today I thought, “What the Lord has gained, I have gained,” for He lives in me and is an unconditional giver for those who believe.
    One day my emotions will catch up to this fact.
    Praise Jesus.

  3. Troublesome circumstances are painfully obvious in daily life. It’s easy to look at the disturbances that we see around us and within us and to find plenty of reasons to feel despair and discouragement. We need a boost — something to put a joyful bounce in our step and lift us up. But where can we find such a boost?

    When Moses’ life of abundance and privilege in Egypt fell apart and he had to lose everything and run for his life to the scarcity of the Midian desert, he didn’t lose hope. How did he not despair? “He persevered because he saw Him who is invisible.” In the heartbreak of his devastation and loss, Moses looked beyond his visible circumstances and beheld the One who makes all things work together for good for those who love God.

    Seeing the invisible working of God is invigorating and empowering! I call it “the Jesus thrill!” The pain and brokenness that we experience as human beings can be the attention getter that wakes us up to the invisible and causes us to look “unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.” As we behold the Lamb of God, the invisible Jesus thrill fills us and overflows from within us and shines visibly on our face. Then as J.D. said: “The harder life is the better Jesus gets.”

  4. JD
    this devotion is either the best news I have ever heard or the worst! I cant make up my mind!
    Cant we attain the glory of GoD without all the pain? why cant we just obey and live His word – let Him take my life – and be blessed by definition – and skip all the suffering part. Life is bad enough outside Jesus without having more pain and suffering inflicted by following Him. Am i missing something?

  5. Where there is pleasure, pain exists. Pain exists, and healing is in the wings. Jesus followed the will of His Father, and He experienced sorrow, anxiousness, and pain.
    John 11-32-35
    32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
    33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked.
    “Come and see, Lord,” they replied.
    35 Jesus wept.
    Jesus suffered in the garden and on the cross.
    Luke 22:43-44
    43 An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. 44 And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.[a]
    Matthew 27:45-46
    45 Now from the sixth hour[a] there was darkness over all the land[b] until the ninth hour.[c] 46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
    Jesus knows pain, so He knows our pain. Being in Christ and doing His will doesn’t keep us from pain, it allows us to process it through Him, as all things are created through Him, and He holds us together. Jesus keeps our pain from sticking to our souls forever. Then there is this promise that we live in…
    Revelation 21:3-4
    3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place[a] of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people,[b] and God himself will be with them as their God.[c] 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, crying, or pain, for the former things have passed away.”
    I think pain is inevitable, but healing is a choice. That choice is Christ.
    Prayer & Peace