Never Alone by Annelise
On the path through life with God, people experience times of uncertainty or crisis. Unanswered questions and painful experiences can make it hard to trust that we are walking securely, with God lovingly guiding the path of those who seek Him. Even without questioning God, we can question ourselves, confused whether the path we are choosing is one that leads near to Him or away from Him.
The emotions of fear, tiredness, panic, disillusionment, hurt, sadness, frustration, wonder, and yearning for fulfillment can’t be hidden from God, and they shouldn’t be. He made us and every part of us exists continually because of Him. It helps to talk about these things with other people, companions and teachers who share the journey with us. But the truest place to bring these emotions, either with words or without, is into the heart of our Maker. We may not even feel sure how He relates to us, but our whole lives are in Him; He knows us.
This means that all emotions are appropriate to open to God in prayer. We see this in Job’s story and in prayers such as the psalms. These people humbly remembered that God is their king and that goodness only comes from the Creator, but they didn’t flatter Him with false feelings. They didn’t hide from Him how their hearts perceived His actions in the world, or the way their whole being was crying out from the uncertainty.
There’s another side to the story, though. Our feelings are real, and it is right to bring them to our Father, but that doesn’t mean they are true. A lot of peace is in realising that real feelings of the ‘path’ may be different from the truer responses to reality.
When a created person stands in front of his or her Creator, realising the gift of existence and the journey with Him, what is the appropriate response? Is it anxiety or sadness, hollowness, exhaustion? The truer response is awe, thankfulness, desire, surrender.
When someone looks at the Jewish faith and sees light in it, but can’t feel sure yet whether God has revealed His ways in it, should they respond with impatience, disappointment, disorientation? If we see light we should appreciate the treasure that it is, and rest in that.
And when someone isn’t sure whether letting go of the faith they were raised in will lead them away from lies or away from God, that path can be terrifying. But the truth is that this is only ever a walk with God, and that we can take steps with confidence when we find we have no moral alternative. Until reaching that point, the most loyal thing we can do is trust Him to guide us as we search sincerely, and simply enjoy the grace of His presence in the process.
Over time, the real feelings we offer to God can become truer and truer, as with His help the light of truth fills our hearts. The truest response we can have to any situation is to draw nearer to Him in hope and surrender.
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Yisroel C. Blumenthal
The key to serenity is acceptance that everything, everything, everything that happens to us comes from Hashem.
It’s that simple, though not that easy.
Thanks Dina, you’re right in a real way, even if it is too complex to grasp how.
No, I don’t agree. It’s very simple. It’s hard to internalize, because we like to think we are in control. But hard doesn’t mean complex.
I meant that sometimes… even often… people go through things and it is impossible to comprehend that God allowed it or caused it. There are no questions and no answers about things like abuse, terror, torture, and other kinds of physical or emotional agony.
Right, these are things that are beyond comprehension. Still, it’s a simple concept.
Right, I hear what you meant and agree.
For one reason or the other HaShem sends us calamities. When I was a charismatic I was taught to bind the evil forces in J’s name and command them to disappear. Today, to me there is only one Almighty one, so, where are the Devil, Satan & Co? Today, I trust that my Father educates me when He is of the opinion that I need these calamities in order to know Him better. Why should I withstand Him by “binding evil forces”? I have learned that when I withstand Him, I am a (Hebr.) Satan and when He needs to withstand me, He is.
What is prayer? Is it that I tell “God” (which one doesn’t matter) what he needs to hear from me or is it that I hearken to what HaShem want’s to reveal to me? Who needs whose information? I don’t believe that when I read a “prayer” from a prayer book that it makes “God” feel better. I mean, he knows all these “prayers”, He has heard and read billions of times already by head and turned bored away if He could. But since He is sitting on His throne He has different problems than listening to a human individual reading from a prayer book.
When I went from the Kotel to the old city, on my left I read a sign that the presence and the shechina of HaShem was believed to be still present in this place. I thought by myself: When the presence of HaShem was present in the Most Holy, the Cohen HaGadol was bound a rope around his leg in order to remove him from the place unharmed if he got killed by HaShem. At the Kotel I could neither find one Haredi nor a tourist from the nations with a rope around their legs. So, where is the glory?
I believe it is that we need to understand HaShem rather than He needs to understand us.
Annelise wrote; I meant that sometimes… even often… people go through things and it is impossible to comprehend that God allowed it or caused it. There are no questions and no answers about things like abuse, terror, torture, and other kinds of physical or emotional agony.
The final judgment on d-day does not take place. ElShadai judges mankind in His sovereign manner today whether or not they like it. He, and He alone, desires to be worshiped and He has forbidden to worship a crucifix idol e. g. There are nations that obtain calamities and others bringing them. I remind you of the so-called Reichskristallnacht, over 75 years ago. I believe that HaShem educates His son Israel as He educated Job. No-one would desire this education yet it is good. Pay attention to the end!
I was touched by how you write in such a genuine way about your journey. I can identify with the struggle between emotions and faith, and discovering that we can be open before God about what we feel. He is the one who comforts us when we come before him with the difficulties we experience. Difficult feelings do not necessarily mean that our faith in God or our relationship with him are not strong enough or even that we are questioning God.
Often we can feel ashamed of our feelings before God, but like you say we can’t hide them from him, and we don’t need to. When we pray, we open the door of our hearts to God and ask him to work in our lives, and he does. If our feelings represent truth, God will answer our prayers by changing our world externally. If our feelings represent untruth, God will answer our prayers by changing our hearts internally.
I also love what you say about our appropriate response to the wonder of our existence. I always stand in awe of it and that we have the privilege of journeying with the God who made us and who is mindful of us despite all our shortcomings. When you journey with God in the way you describe, you will come to see more and more clearly what is light and what is darkness. Keep trusting him to guide you and practising the grace of his presence. He is the God who made you. He is the God who loves you. He is the God who guides you. He is the God who is always faithful.
I have been walking in the “uncertainty” of faith for many years now, but have discovered that I can trust God even when things don’t make sense. When I trust him the “uncertainty” dims away in the light of the certainty of his faithfulness.
Thanks for the kindness of this, I was encouraged. Always be pointing people to Him. Blessings!