The Challenges of Life

By: Rabbi Shlomo Ezagui


Many times, just when we finally make up our minds to move ahead in life, to move in the right direction, we are challenged with more difficulties, struggles and obstacles. Abraham, at 75 years old, accepts his first real mission from G-d, and on his journey towards Israel to fulfill G-d’s commandment, he is confronted with a famine. His wife, Sarah, is abducted and taken prisoner by the Pharaoh of Egypt. How is it that you couldn’t find a more spiritual G-dly couple, committed and willing to do what’s right, and they are rewarded by encountering such hardships?

Why is life sometimes so difficult and challenging? Can’t G-d leave us alone?

By nature, when things are too easy, we tend to sit back and become comfortable. Lighting the proverbial fire underneath us, for most of us, is the only way to get us off our backs. Challenges force and push a person to bring the best out of them. That’s just the way it works.

Mysticism discusses the nature of this Universe as being inherently kind and good. When G-d decided to create this world, there was no one to deserve or earn His kindness, and He did it anyway. “The world was created with the attribute of kindness.” That means that even if something appears going downwards – a descent, it must be part of a process of going upwards and getting better, since G-d is good, and all that he does is excellent, with no inadequacies or deficiencies.

If someone is to be honest with themselves, they will acknowledge, only G-d really knows what is truly good and/or bad. Many times, we experience negative things, and we discover they were the catalyst for something very positive. How many people lost jobs only to find better opportunities? Many times what we thought was positive became the reason for something very negative. How many people won lotteries only to curse the day they won all that money? Our scope of vision is finite and limited, and in truth, we can never be sure what is truly good and what may be truly bad for us.

When a person relies on G-d’s infinite wisdom and goodness, by developing his/her muscle of faith and trust, we are catapulted in an entirely different way of viewing the world and our lives. A person who understands that the nature and character of the world is inherently good and a blessing from a source that is positive, benevolent and trustworthy; and develops this faith by using his intellect to strengthen himself, then he never encounters problems. Everything in his life must be another occurrence and experience presented as an opportunity for something positive.

Abraham and Sarah where chosen by G-d to go on His mission because G-d knew they understood this concept and would seek and search the bright side and the kernel of good in all that they would encounter. And so it was:the famine led to being sidetracked towards Egypt, which brought to the kidnapping situation, which and led to the great gifts Pharaoh lavished upon Abraham and Sarah. They literally became exceedingly rich from their travails.

This is the lesson for all of us. We must train our minds, and then our hearts will follow to always see the blessing – or at least have the patience and faith to eventually see in all that happens in our lives to be a blessing. When we look out at life this way, we are guaranteed to quickly see the good in all that happens, and life actually becomes better!


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