The Most Powerful Step Three in History!
Avraham – the First Man in Recovery!
עשרה נסיונות נתנסה אברהם אבינו ועמד בכלם להודיע כמה חבתו של אברהם אבינו
"Our forefather Abraham was tested with ten trials and he withstood all of them - to show the degree of our forefather Abraham's love for G-d." (Pirke Avos 4:2)
What really is a "Test?"
By definition, a TEST is a procedure intended to establish the quality, performance, or reliability of something or someone. But by spiritual standards, a "HEAVENLY TEST" is one that forces a person to choose between G-d's will and his own Self-Centered nature of understanding of what is right. Of course, it would be no challenge to Avraham, who was the epitome of kindness, to be asked to help the needy, but it was a supreme test of His faith to desert his aged father and homeland...plus his test later in life to give his beloved firstborn son with Sarah as an offering. Thus by doing so, he demonstrated his conviction that man's highest goal is to accept the Divine Wisdom as the SOLE TRUTH!
The commentators debate: Since G-d knows all future events and how every person will respond to any given situation, why was it necessary to test Avraham? The Ramban explains that of course, the outcome is never in doubt to G-d for He knows that the person being tested will pass. The test is not for the benefit of G-d... the test is for the benefit of the one being tested! The person being tested, like all of us, has bechira - free choice, and he must find the strength and the wisdom to courageously choose correctly (think of the Serenity Prayer). And when he does, then he has translated his POTENTIAL into ACTION and made himself a greater person. For, in the Heavenly Scales of Judgement, he is rewarded not only for what he had done but for exceeding even more than he thought possible!
Let’s consider what the Parsha can teach the addict...
As human beings, we are NOT laboratory mice in some mad scientist's experiment to see what our limits are. Yet, as addicts, I also know how easy it is for us to conclude that life sucks and the TESTS ARE UNBEARABLE! We may be so full of resentments and fears that we want to just scream and lash out at people around us (sadly, it's most often at the people who care the most about us). And as we all know, when the tests are completely unacceptable, and when the pain is excruciating, we do what we always do...we go act out!
Is there ever any hope? Will I really ever be able to change, to get sober, and be sober for any length of time? There are so many tests in our life, how can I possibly pass them? Well, my holy brothers and sisters, the answer is YOU CAN PASS THE TESTS OF LIFE - and that you have it right inside yourself to do so! Don't forget that, in fact, as a son/daughter of Avraham Avinu - YOU HAVE THE "SPIRITUAL DNA" TO PASS ANY AND ALL TESTS!
Turning to the Big Book on page 27, we learn what Dr. Carl Jung says about his experience with addicts that have passed their Tests and remain in Recovery. Dr. Jung states that these individuals have had "huge emotional displacements and rearrangements. Ideas, emotions, and attitudes which were once the guiding forces of the lives of these men are suddenly cast to one side, and a completely NEW set of conceptions and motives begin to dominate them!"
Yes, thanks to the 12 Step Program and the profound message of Avraham's own growth with his decision to turn his will and his life over to G-d (aka Lech Lecha), we too can take the Steps forward to Recovery and to THE PROMISED LAND!
Thanks to Parsha Lech Lecha, we can learn to shift our focus from Self-Consciousness to Other Consciousness and ultimately to G-d Consciousness! Here's one of my favorite Tools to help you PASS THE TESTS IN YOUR LIFE. All you have to do is regularly, throughout the day, ask yourself: Where am I on the Consciousness Scale?