Q: Recently I have been dealing with all sorts of trials and tribulations: health issues, a complex family situation and social troubles. I believe that trials come to us so that we will learn something from them. So when I don’t’ understand what God wants from me in a particular trial, it is difficult for me to understand why it is happening to me at all and then it is hard to cope. How can I deal with trials that I don’t understand?
A: There are times and situations in which a person feels that “Now I am dealing with a trial and I have to cope with it, with God’s help.” It is written that every trial is a trial of faith, and when we overcome it, the faith becomes knowledge, as in the verse, “For God is testing you to know.” While the trial is happening, the person often does not understand why he must endure it.
There are, however, situations in which a person must attempt (and this is also a type of trial) to completely remove his thoughts from the hardship and not to ask questions. Instead, he should fulfill the great Torah directive in Deuteronomy 18:13, “Be simply sincere with Havayah your God.” (As the famous Biblical commentator Rashi explains on that verse, which it is very worthwhile to learn well, “Walk with God in simplicity, wait for Him, and do not delve into the future, but rather all of life’s events should be accepted with simplicity, and then you will be with Him and in His portion”).
In the situation that you described, it seems best to adopt the second strategy. Continue your three-pronged service of God with simple sincerity: Torah study, service of the heart, which is prayer, and performing acts of kindness (with your family and friends).
May we hear good news from you soon!