On our journey we face many inexplicable situations which leave us with more questions than answers. There are days the anxiety of what disaster will occur is overwhelming. For the faint at heart, reality is difficult. For the strong of heart, it is equally daunting at times.
The death of seven children in a home fire in Brooklyn is hard to swallow. Children being abused, molested and murdered is beyond explanation or purpose at first glance. Mass murders, drive-by shootings, planes being crashed on purpose—and the list goes on. What is the meaning? Why does the G-d of all Creation allow these things to happen? Wherein do we find meaning amidst such atrocities?
For many years the “why” concerned and upset me more than the “Who.” I found it very hard to trust a G-d who allows a daily dosage of insanity to be unleashed upon the world He has instructed us to repair and make better. The contradiction has been the source of many migraines, both literally and spiritually. How do we make these things make sense?
I have struggled with the “why” for a very long time. I have been called disrespectful and worse for daring to question G-d. I disagree. I believe questioning G-d is a huge act of faith that says “I believe He controls the world and has all the power needed to make things different.” The caveat in the questioning is to not grow disillusioned and bitter or to lose sight of the Who I am speaking to.
Our history as Jews is replete with examples of leaders doing battle with G-d over His actions or what He permitted to happen. Their questions did not mean they didn’t trust G-d. On the contrary, the very words revealed that G-d could and should have acted justly and in accordance with His promises. And why didn’t He? The challenges confirm we are to expect of G-d that which He demands of us.
Ours is to not only trust but to act. We are commanded to fight evil and injustice, to make the world a better place and protect life even if it costs us our own. Therefore, it is not unreasonable to expect that as we do our part, G-d should do His. There is nothing blasphemous about expecting the G-d Who made us to do as He has promised.
So what is the answer? Sometimes there is no answer. It’s a tough pill to swallow but to lie to ourselves is a lie we can never wash off our souls. Faith requires brutal honesty with ourselves, with others, and yes, with G-d.
I recall a story in which a young son asked his very wise father a question concerning a matter of faith. The father took a week to answer his son. “Can it be,” the son asked, “that you needed so much time to find the answer to my question?”
“No,” his father replied. “I could have given you the answer right away. But I wanted you to understand this: People can easily live solely with questions; and also you should know that some questions remain forever unanswered.”
So we speak our mind, do battle with G-d if you will, and then accept that questions are as much a part of life as answers. In accepting that truth, we also accept that G-d is G-d; and though we don’t get to have all the answers, we are to use the ones we do have to make the world a better place.