Dear Jew in the City-
If Hashem is our father and He loves us, how come he keeps on sending nisayonos (tests) to us. I know this is only for our best and we gain from it but it’s so hard that I get angry at Hashem and I don’t feel like I have what to pray to Him because He isn’t listening to me. Why does he send a nisayon and when we finally overcome that He’ll send something harder to withstand? Is that because He doesn’t like me or He wants to punish me for not doing all He wants me to?
Thanks for your question, which was forwarded to my attention.
Imagine if I were to hand you a diploma. Congratulations! You now have a Master’s degree in engineering! Now go build me a bridge. Do you feel up to the task? No? Why not? After all, I gave you the credentials!
You know that handing you the diploma isn’t good enough because you didn’t earn it, with the result that you have no idea how to build a bridge. If you want to build a bridge and not have it collapse, killing everyone, you have to study math, physics, and ultimately engineering. This will require years of hard work and many challenging tests. You’ll curse, you’ll cry, you’ll think about quitting, but ultimately you’ll be stronger for the experience and actually prepared for your career.
That’s what life is like. If when we were born, God gave us a gold star and said, “Welcome to Earth,” we wouldn’t be equipped for life. We’d never grow as people. It’s the tests and trials that prepare us. We may curse, we may cry, we may want to quit, but ultimately the tests are what make us qualified for our careers as members of mankind.
You say that the tests get harder but isn’t that what one would expect? Your tests in third grade were easier than your tests in eighth grade and your tests in eighth grade were easier than your tests in twelfth grade. If you go on to college and grad school, the tests get even tougher. Similarly, as we proceed through life, our tests get harder but that’s because they’re making us more and more qualified. If our tests got easier, they wouldn’t be tests at all!
Remember, God doesn’t give a person a test they can’t handle. (There are many sources for this: Talmud Avodah Zara 3a, Shemos Rabbah 34, Bemidbar Rabbah 21, Rebbe Nachman MiBreslov, Rav Dessler, et al. – it’s a pretty widespread concept.) When a tough time comes your way, God knows you can handle it or you wouldn’t be facing it. You just have to be aware that you can handle it and, after it’s all over (perhaps years later), you can look back and see what you gained from the experience.
Rabbi Jack Abramowitz
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