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Don't Try Harder; Trust Harder

Am I being punished for my falls with all the trouble in my life?

GYE Corp. Sunday, 29 January 2012

Someone wrote on the forum:

Nothing is going right for me financially...I'm at my wits end... I have been davening for my addiction, and now for my life... Maybe I'm being punished for what I have done and looked at??

Dov replies:

Punished? Why would Hashem need to "punish" his kid? Being fixed up from all the damage you caused yourself - maybe - but even these cheshboinos are silly for me to get involved in, so I try not to.

All I can say is that going through what you are experiencing is so hard, and it's equally difficult for anyone in relative comfort to really relate to it. I can't give you real advice, as I feel no pain of worry like yours right now.

But as a person who has had some tough times and suffered a bit, I suggest "trusting harder" rather than "trying harder"/"davening harder". I can share with you that there are times when our "trying" is just not enough, no matter how you slice it. Perhaps we inherently just cannot really deserve to get what we want. It's gotta boil down to His Chessed: Matnas chinom.

Better ask Him for matnas chinom rather than try to deserve anything. And consider letting your ma'asim flow from ahavah: as a child to his father, the benevolent King. Let go and do (whatever you believe is) your best, just to make the King proud - because He's the Greatest. Keeping the basic mitzvos and perhaps even being machmir at times - all out of appreciation and love. After all, He does for you out of love 99.9% of the time anyway, no matter how hard we try - or fail, right?

Going this way blows away all the silly taynos of those who say that it'll bring you to stop keeping the mitzvos if you serve Hashem with a volunteer mentality. Pah-leaze. The entire sefer Chovos Halevavos is just about this point. Nedivus out of hakaras hatov. And his point isn't the hakaras hatov at all: it's the nedivus - i.e. the relationship created by the hakaras hatov (he writes this somewhere in Sha'ar Avodas hoElokim). We are commanded to do it so that we know He wants us to do it, and we do it out of love for the King. Cuz we know a secret others don't know... the King is our Tatty!! (Shhh!!)

Try this on like a shirt for a while and see what you come out with and let me know. Thanks.

PS. Times like these may be a good time to take stock of what you do have. Relationships, stuff, health, whatever, and looking at how you can appreciate it more and strengthen it because of your hard times. After all, suffering "together" is better than suffering alone - but only if we are really together.