Finding God in the Desert

It has been a long 4-5 months.  We were in the process of creating paperwork, soon to find out much of our documents had expired due to other delays.  A few documents we just had to start back at the beginning.  It was what you call a desert place for Bryanna and I. We were discouraged and overwhelmed. We all have had those type of moments in our life.  But it is also a place where God meets us and says, I will give you comfort.

God brought the Hebrews out into the desert.  Unlike what we imagine, the desert was rocky, with turns and twists and very little shade.  They had no idea what was around the next turn or where they were going. Until you’ve actually been in the desert, there’s no way to describe how hot and desolate it really is. Walking in 125 degree weather was a struggle for the Hebrews. One of the plants found in the desert that is talked about in the


Bible is the Rottem, or “broom tree”.  It is one of the few shade trees in the desert.  Although more of a bush than a tree, it was very important as shade to the early travelers. There are two Biblical stories that mention the broom tree.  The first one was the story of Hagar and Ishmael in Genesis.  The second story involves Elijah in 1 Kings 19 and here it specifically says, “he came to a broom tree (Rottem) and sat under it.”  These two stories both create a desert lesson involving heat and shade.  In both cases, the heat was unbearable and overwhelming and the characters look like they were not going to survive it.  But God came and provided a moment of shade in their desert experience, and they were able to continue on their life journey. The Psalmist says it best, “the Lord is my shade at my right hand.”

This past week we have seen God give us a moment of shade. After waiting 53 days (longer than expected!) we received our Letter of Acceptance (LOA) to adopt from China.  LOA2.jpgWe are so excited because we know we are nearing the end of our desert place. We are now waiting on immigration paperwork to process and then we will soon be traveling to China to pick up Haylee. He has reminded us that when we are overwhelmed, He is in control and still working. He brings us encouragement (from all of you) that gives us that shade to continue on this crazy journey.

The shape and size of the tree is itself a lesson.  It is not a big tree at all, barely providing enough shade for one man and then not much. It’s not anything like what we Westerners would call a shade tree.  The image of the broom tree is ,”just enough.”  When you come to a desert moment in life, as Hagar and Elijah did (as well as us!) and the heat is excruciating and your think you won’t be able to take another step, God is there to provide you a little shade to get you by.  The image is not deep shade or air-conditioning, but just enough shade.  The world we live in is one of intense heat, but around the bend is a broom tree, where we can get a little shade, a little rest, to be able to keep going on life’s journey.

Nick Tanner

Want to make a donation?  All donations will be matched by Lifesong up to $5,000. Please visit Select “Adoption” then “Give to an Adoptive Family.” Complete the online form and fill in“Family Account Number” 6292 and “Family Name” Tanner. Please make checks payable to “Lifesong for Orphans. In the memo of the check, note (Tanner/#6292) to assure it goes to the correct account. Please mail to Lifesong for Orphans, PO Box 40, Gridley, IL 61744.


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