In our Torah portion on this Sabbath, we read a familiar story about the miracle at the Sea of Reeds. This ancient story provides us with a powerful spiritual metaphor for the ways we approach our challenges in life today.
Having just fled a life of slavery and oppression in Egypt, the Israelites wander into a new and unknown terrain, a wilderness filled with challenges which they had never faced before. Now, as they stand at the brink of freedom, they are terrified. At the shores of the sea, the Israelites recognize that their journey into the wilderness is a journey into the unknown and that the impassable sea before them is just the first insurmountable challenge that comes with the freedom to choose one’s direction.
So too it is with us as we navigate the wilderness of life. Whenever we confront a challenge that seems impossible to overcome, we have a tendency to freeze, and like our ancestors in the wilderness, our hope for the future becomes consumed by the challenges of the moment. In doing so, we prevent ourselves from moving forward.
It is here that the miracle of the splitting of the sea serves to guide us. We need to remain open to a sense of hope, even when it seems like our path has come to a dead end. We must keep our eyes open to unexpected opportunities that can help us overcome the challenges before us.
Our opportunities need not be miraculous. Simple, everyday occurrences can provide us with a new perspective in the ever unfolding wilderness that surrounds us.
As 2018 continues to unfold, may each of us see our challenges through the lens of faith rather than fear so that we might step forward into the unknown with a strong sense of hope in our hearts for a better tomorrow.