There is a Jewish midrash about two named men, Reuven and Shimon. These two were a part of the Israelite migrant caravan that walked through the parting of the Red Sea. But they had a whole different experience than the many unnamed people who walked beside them. The midrash is:
“Apparently the bottom of the sea, though safe to walk on, was not completely dry but a little muddy, like a beach at low tide. Reuven stepped into it and curled his lip. ‘What is this muck?”’
“Shimon scowled, ‘There’s mud all over the place!’
“’This is just like the slime pits of Egypt!’ replied Reuven.
“’What’s the difference?’ complained Shimon. ‘Mud here, mud there; it’s all the same.”
“And so it went for the two of them, grumbling all the way across the bottom of the sea. And, because they never once looked up, they never understood why on the distant shore everyone else was singing songs of praise. For Reuven and Shimon the miracle never happened.”
The brave decision was to look up.
Fun question: If you were one of those walking across on dry ground with walls of water on each side of you, would you have touched the water?
This has been a fun conversation we’ve had at my church (where we always have such conversations). The answers could be like a personality test.
Some would have run through as fast as possible. Some would have run their finger through all the way. Some would have with trepidation touched it just a bit afraid that they would be the cause for the wall of water to collapse. Do you see the personality types?
Which one would you have been?
Would you have been like Reuven and Shimon only looking at the mud?
Consumed with thoughts of the one bad thing that is happening to you?
Resistant to change?
Filled with fear, especially fear of change and/or the unknown?
Keeping on ignoring all that is happening around you?
Ignoring the very things that can actually improve your future?
Not hearing the voices of those who surround you?
So beat up with life that you don’t know how to look up?
So defeated by life that you believe that mud is the best you get?
Believe that what you know now is good enough?
Do you realize that this path is actually your new beginning. If only you can make the brave decision to look up.
You may find yourself on a new shore singing songs of praise with others.
This quote comes from one of those water-touching people from my church.
(Photo credit to Anglican Diocese of Perth)