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When you are walled in, search for the way out

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Posted: Saturday, September 29, 2012 12:00 am

There's a wall in front of you. Behind you is a past you are running from. Beyond the wall awaits the promise of a new life. But you're not moving because there is this "wall." You feel trapped. No way out.

This is just the sort of situation in which God does some of his finest work.

You need only ask the Israelites. Behind them was a life of back-breaking work and slavery. Ahead of them was a life in the land of Promise.

Behind them was the greatest military power of the time, in an ancient display of "shock and awe," bearing down on them. Ahead of them was a wall — a wall of water. And the most troubling thing is that God led them into this uncomfortable place with no escape hatch.

Apparently he wanted them to feel the pressure and understand this situation was beyond their ability to solve.

You may have hit a wall in your life. Your "wall" may be a fear of failure. Or maybe it's a lack of confidence that has grinded your progress to a halt. Or it could merely be too many problems that have piled up in front of you at the same time and you have no clue which one to tackle first.

You may have hit a financial wall in this bad economy or an emotional wall in a crumbling marriage. The wall might be a cancer diagnosis, a friend's betrayal or a shattered dream. What you know is, you're feeling the pressure and this is beyond your ability to solve.

At this point, many people panic. Anxiety takes over and fear paralyzes forward movement. Eyes which once had clear focus now only focus on the wall just inches away.

You'd like to face into the wall head with the bravado of Capt. Jack Sparrow: "Complications arose, ensued, were overcome." Instead, curling up in a fetal position, pulling the blankets overhead and hoping it will all go away seems the only solution.

Some people look for someone else to get them around the wall. The Israelites looked to their leader, Moses, for direction. Then they blamed him for getting them into this mess in the first place.

When we really get stuck, sometimes it's just easier to blame someone else. Have you done the same? Blame the boss. Blame a coworker. Blame your dog. Blame God. Maybe even blame yourself? Blame all you want, but the wall remains.

While the Israelites were wagging fingers at Moses, he opted to look elsewhere. His options? He could have looked at the enemy's army and been overwhelmed by the desert storm blowing his way. He could have looked at the ungrateful people he led and thrown in the towel. He could have looked at the wall of water blocking his path, sat down, and given up.

Instead, he looked to God. And God opened an unlikely route through the wall of water. Safely on the other side, the very wall that had halted their steps became God's tool for their deliverance and covered the source of their fears.

The very name of the book where we find this story serves as a reminder when we face our walls. "Exodus" is a compound Greek word meaning "the way out." And in case you might have missed it, the way out was not a better job, a different spouse or a victim mentality.

The way out is God. Next time you feel the pressure and find yourself up against a wall that is beyond your ability, try looking to him. It's in those moments he does his finest work.

Portions of this article have been adapted from www.thestory.com/resourcelibrary with permission from Zondervan Publishing.

Rod Suess is lead pastor of Vinewood Community Church in Lodi.

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