"The Way of G-d"
Part 2: “Divine Providence”
Chapter 3: “Personal Providence”
There's more yet to say about the place of human suffering in the big
picture. It's that sometimes we're made to suffer so as to step back and look
deeply within ourselves. After all, when all is well and the world itself is
sweet, good, and then some, the world is enough. And the idea of i
ntrospection and change is absurd, for all intents and purposes.
Why take the time?
But when troubles come upon us, thought and inquiry suddenly seem to make
sense, and we're likely to improve ourselves as a consequence. Understand,
though, that that goes for the righteous as well as the rest of us; they too
sometimes have to take a step back and observe. And that further explains why
the righteous sometimes bear pain.
Suffering also gives us reason to raise perhaps the most propitious question
anyone could ask under such circumstances-- "Why me?".
The actual question behind "Why me?" is "Why me, G-d?", though many don't
word it that way. (For after all, who else would we be asking? Some might
claim that "Why me?" is a rhetorical question and not directed toward anyone
at all; but as everyone knows, troubled souls rarely dabble in rhetoric.)
Hence, having the opportunity to ask "Why me?" allows us the chance to
realize that G-d indeed exists, that He affects each one of us, and that we
personally have been affected by Him right here and now.
It's hoped, of course, that the experience of pain will lead to real and
heartfelt personal betterment and teshuva (i.e., drawing close to G-d as a
consequence of repentance). For that's the ultimate point of having to endure
trial and tribulation in the first place.
We pointed out earlier on (2:2:3) that some people suffer as a consequence of
their sins. But this instance is different. Suffering here isn't a price to
pay so much as a means of drawing close to G-d. And it's used by G-d as a
means simply because some people only respond to suffering, unfortunately.
Knowing all this, wisdom would seem to suggest that people in pain should
"take advantage" of the moment and draw close to G-d right there and then, so
as not to have suffered in vain. For while suffering is indeed horrible, it
can seem to have been "savory" if you will or at least nuanced after the fact
if you grow as a consequence of it. While it will only have been horrible if
you went through it without having grown. The truth be known, though, unless
we "get the hint" we'll be forced to suffer more and more until we do, G-d
protect us. So, let this serve as a word to the wise.
This series is dedicated to the memory of Yitzchak Hehrsh ben Daniel,
and Sarah Rivka bas Yaakov Dovid.
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