The Secret to not Worrying

Natanya & I just returned from a builders expo in Las Vegas.  Hopefully we made some connections that will save hundreds of thousands of dollars for our supporters who are making the Jewish Campus of Temecula a reality.

Does G-d have my best interests in mind?  

The short answer is “yes”.

The longer answer requires an understanding of the difference between faith vs. trust.

Here are two differences:

  1. Trust is stronger than faith.

  2. Trust is for the future, faith is for the past.

Do you have faith in me, Yonasan Abrams?  Do you trust me?

Can I borrow $10,000 and pay you back in a few weeks?

That’s the difference.  Faith is believing in someone’s good intentions, that they will try their best, and rooting for them.  

Trust, however, is relying on them for big things, and not worrying, even for a moment that things might not turn out as you were hoping.

If things didn’t work out after the fact, I can have faith that the person tried their best.  I’m not angry that they lost my money, but the loss still hurts.

That’s why trust in any human is limited.  Even someone with the best intentions can make a mistake, or not know how to help, or not have the means to bring their intentions to fruition, or get overrun by things out of their control.  

Here’s a simple illustration:  How many people have faith that their parents “tried their best” to set them up for life, but nevertheless didn’t do a good job parenting?  

Even parents, who presumably have their children’s best interests in mind don’t always know what truly is good for their children.  And even if they know what’s good, they don’t always have the time or money or emotional capacity to give it to them.  And even if they do have all these things, sometimes disease or other things out of their control can stop them from giving children what they need.

That’s why G-d is the only One deserving of our trust.  G-d wants me to have revealed good. G-d knows what’s truly good for me.  G-d has the capacity to give me that good.  No one can stop G-d from giving it to me.

But if G-d really has my best intentions in mind, and knows what’s good for me, why do bad things sometimes happen?

The answer is faith.  “True good” is not always “revealed good”.  I was just talking with Mort last week, who is also battling cancer, and he told me that he thanks Hashem every day for his cancer.  “If it weren’t for the cancer, I wouldn’t have this special relationship with G-d.”  

People live through decades of their life on autopilot only to find what’s truly important when they’re going through hard times.

At the same time, even a person who appreciates the “true good” in their hardships wants to be healthy, and see revealed health, wealth and family going forward.  “Thank you G-d for this gift of cancer, but from now on, I want to be healthy!”

Trust on the other hand, is a peace of mind and confidence, knowing that G-d will give me that revealed good going forward.

Trust and faith seem to be self-contradictory:  If G-d does give painful, “truly good” things, how can I be confident that going forward I’ll have only revealed good?

How do I know that G-d’s plan for me going forward is indeed revealed good?  Maybe G-d’s plan for me is painful, “true good” (i.e. what most people would call bad)?  Maybe my trials and tribulations are an atonement for my past mistakes?

The answer is that we are created in G-d’s image.  Just as G-d defies all rules of logic, and can be inside and outside at the same time, a Jew can have faith that the sorrows of yesterday were truly for my benefit, and that doesn’t stop me from confidently trusting G-d that going forward, I will have only revealed good (with all the benefits of true good).

But what gives me the right to trust in G-d for this?

The Rebbe explains that there many ways people can serve G-d, and we need to practice serving G-d in all these ways.  Here are some examples of ways to serve G-d.

  1. Learning Torah

  2. Doing mitzvahs

  3. Honesty (included in mitzvahs)

  4. Refining character traits (included in mitzvahs)

  5. Practicing trust in G-d

Trusting G-d is a unique way of serving Him and has a unique reward.  The reward for trusting G-d that you’ll get revealed good is by getting revealed good.  There are other currencies to pay people for learning Torah, doing mitzvahs etc. but trust is in a category of it’s own.  

Trusting G-d is not just some cheap trick to get goodies either.  It is a high level of serving G-d and takes years of practice and development.

Here are some practical examples of how a person can practice faith & trust:

  1. Faith- Not getting angry when you miss a flight, when your spouse breaks a glass, when someone cuts you off on the road, when you lose money or when tragedy befalls.  After all, it was part of G-d’s plan, which must be truly good. (Ie. all things from the past)

  2. Trust- Confidently and calmly not working on Shabbos because you know your livelihood comes from G-d and you will get the money you need.  Confidently and calmly doing what you know is right, even though it might anger an investor and jeopardize a deal.  Sleeping at night and calmly going about your day, even though you or someone close to you has a scary diagnosis, or have tremendous financial or legal uncertainties looming or you don’t know how you’re going to pay rent at the end of the month.  (Ie, you are calm and confident about things in the future).

Trust is about being calm, knowing you’re in good hands.  It’s about confidence that G-d will give you revealed good.

Indeed the reward for trusting in G-d is that we’ll have revealed good.

And that is my wish for you.  Open, revealed good.



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