Making a Way Out of No Way Click here for audio
Exodus 14: 5-6, 10-14, 21-25
Abigail Ozanne, Youth Director
Parting the Reed Sea
- From when we were young, we have heard the story of Moses asking Pharaoh to, “Let my people go!” We may have watched Charlton Heston in “The 10 Commandments” numerous times. We may have studied it in Sunday school. Because this is our story, a story that has been told for at least 3 millennia and is still being told today.
- God convinces Pharaoh – at first pharaoh did not want to let them go but then was convinced by many signs and plagues,
- Lights the way with column of cloud and at night with lightening – the Holy Spirit leads them where they need to go, it is not the most direct route but it is the safest. This way the Hebrew people will not have to fight their way through the Egyptian army with its superior numbers and technology
- Crossing the Red/Reed Sea (Yam Suph) (suphah means storm-wind and is a good pun), Lake Timsah (shallow and reedy, could have been a storm wind that moved water), Bitter Lakes
- Imagine a great wind blowing across the northern tip of the Gulf of Suez, the waves creating great walls of water and the people escaping between them.
- Imagine people on foot crossing a wetland and then chariots coming after being pulled by two horses with 3-4 people in them.
- Imagine crossing a shallow lake whose waters had been parted by a mighty storm wind. Then when the storm blew itself out, the waters rushed back in.
- All of these are miraculous examples of rescue through the power of God
- The people struggled to do so but eventually trusted in God. Would we have believed that God could make a way for us to be released by Pharaoh, to escape his armies, and to be provided for in the wilderness? The barriers seemed immovable, but God made a way.
- This story of being set free, of escaping the armies of Pharaoh and finding provision in the wilderness has shaped Jewish people and then Christians for Millennia. God’s ability to make a way out of no way is a powerful part of our story as followers of YHWH
Jesus is the ultimate Way
- Early Christians called themselves followers of the Way. Jesus was their way, their truth, and their light. And truly Christ is the ultimate example of God making a way where there seemed an immovable barrier. Christ rolled the stone away and broke the bonds of sin and death to rise.
Making a way in our lives
- What barriers do we encounter in our lives? Fear, conflict, other people
- From the risk we are afraid to take – a new career, retirement, a new relationship
- Barriers of prejudice (our own or others)
- Tasks that seem impossibly large, complicated, or beyond our abilities
- How does God make a way in our lives today?
- Hiking the trail and finding a way around
- God doesn’t just fling down barriers but also sends people and lends the ability to do more than one thought possible
- A Way Forward – 40 years of conflict, how will we find a way? Only through God, only by the work of the spirit, only with the transforming love of Jesus
- Giving us strength to do more than we thought possible
- Like with the Hebrew people escaping from Egypt, it is not always the way we thought we would go.
- I am here to testify to you that God does make a way. I want to tell you my story, not because it is about me but because in it, I continually see God.
- Seminary episode – I have struggled with depression since I was 10. In seminary I had a particularly bad episode and hospitalized myself. Later that winter, I was set to meet with the District Committee on Ordained Ministry for my certification interview to become a certified candidate for ministry. When I came to my meeting I learned that because of my history of mental illness, my candidacy process was terminated. I would have to wait 5 years, and then I could restart my candidacy process.
- I was heartbroken but finished seminary. While others were preparing to head to churches after graduation, I searched for jobs and on the very day of graduation received a call from Paul Harcey offering me a job at Kingswood as the Program Director until the camp closed. When it came time leave camp, I got a job at the Conference Office running Servant Heart Ministries. God kept making a way for me to be in ministry and using all my gifts.
- After SHM was stopped by the camping board, I spent the next half of a year unemployed and then underemployed. When I first left the Conference Office, I was so angry and hurt. I felt that the church had no interest in any of the gifts that I had to offer. I quit going to church, unable to sit through worship without weeping. After applying for countless positions in a variety of fields and attending many interviews, I finally landed a job using all my education and skills. A half-time position as a youth director in a United Methodist Church. I felt God must be laughing, considering that I began my search declaring that I definitely did not want to work in a church. No matter how hard I tried to leave, God kept calling me back and showing me ways to be in ministry. God kept making a way where there seemed to be no way.
- Today I stand before you leading worship. I teach the youth, plan spiritual activities, and am a part of the pastoral team here at the church. God keeps making a way for me. And last fall I was certified as a candidate for ministry.
- Read Isaiah 40:26-31