The highest level of emuna a man can reach is when he refuses to worry about anything in life. He knows that everything comes from Hashem and that it is all for our benefit.
How do we balance this goal with the reality that it is human nature to worry?
Emuna is the “on” switch to Hashem. Understanding that our tribulations come from Him, we grow into a lifestyle of always asking, “What does Hashem want me to improve in myself today so that He will turn my current hardship into a blessing?”
Above image "Natty Emuna" copyright Emuna Outreach - all rights reserved
As a result we are always trying something new. We are always doing something different to become a better person. With every tribulation comes personal improvement. Our mission in life is to always be growing. During those times when we need to grow the most, or when we are in the best position to take a step forward in a particular area of life, Hashem will send us a message of what we need to do. That message can be pleasant, or it can express a greater urgency to action.
How can we exist in a state of non-worry and continue to grow? How can we decide not to be concerned about our children’s health, our income, the future, and all the other issues that grab center stage in our life? It’s the concern over these challenges that motivates us to action. Even if we know that everything has a Divine purpose to it and that purpose is good, what’s the point of taking it all in stride if G-d Himself is trying to stir us up into emotion?
If Emuna is the on switch of G-d, worry serves as the electric current. When we are in a situation so dire all we can do is stress, we are put to the test. These are the best conditions for us to grow. Over the last half a century, mankind’s greatest innovations from the VCR to the personal computer and even to the Internet itself – were developed during times of economic hardship. Only when we feel the pressure of a difficult situation, and our emunah is pushed to the brink of despair can we motivate ourselves to make the drastic changes to our daily habits that Hashem is demanding of us right now.
Worry is the ultimate catalyst for greater exertion. Its end products are endurance, perseverance, and determination.
How can we aim to reach a state of trust in Hashem such that we don’t worry about anything, knowing that to advance in life we need to worry about something? That’s quite a paradox, but it’s really just a matter of trust.We trust that Hashem will manage the balance for us. He will send us the tests, and we will do all that we can to pass them. Hashem never gives us a test we can’t handle. He never pushes us to worry to the point of despair. Even if we fail and fall into despair, we are never trapped in that situation, we can always get out and regain our emunah.
For the sake of peace in the home, He allows His holy Name to be erased in the sotah waters so a husband will know for sure that his wife is loyal.
Look at the lengths our beloved Father in heaven goes to help us!
For the sake of bringing us closer, He will send us such a harsh tribulation, there is no guarantee we will remain loyal to Him. He risks us erasing His Name from our own hearts just so we will exert ourselves to reach an even greater level of emunah and draw even closer to His loving kindness.
When we find ourselves in situations where G-d is nowhere to be found, it is only because He is closer to us than ever.
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Dovber Halevi is the author of Sex, Religion, and the Middle East, a book about personal holiness and happiness. He lives in Israel with his wife and three children.