At times, people suffer from what they feel is unbearable pain. They have cried out to Hashem numerous times to prevent the specific situation they feared from occurring. They begged for His mercy, yet not only did the situation occur, but it happened in the worst way imaginable.
It could be a man going through a divorce, being separated from his children and becoming financially strapped. It could be a woman going through a divorce, suffering humiliation beyond belief and believing she has nothing to look forward to other than struggles and more shame.
It could be a man who is trying hard to keep his business afloat but instead it collapses and thrusts him into deep debt. It could be parents experiencing heartache – disrespect, name-calling, public humiliation – caused by wayward children, consuming their every waking hour.
The list goes on. The sufferers begin to question, “I prayed for Hashem to help me. I learned that He is kind and merciful, but how can you call this mercy? Not only didn’t Hashem help me, but He made it much worse than I could have ever imagined! I begged Him and begged Him – and this is what I get? I’m not a bad person. I try hard to follow the Torah. Is this what I deserve? Please, make some sort of sense out of this.”
The Chovot HaLevavot (Shaar HaBitachon 3) teaches us that we never know the exact reasons things happen to people in This World, but our Rabbis tell us that we are living in the End of Days and all the souls in This World have already lived once before. Every single person here is on a mission to fix whatever needs fixing in order for him to live forever in total bliss in Olam HaBa – the World to Come. We don’t know exactly what we have to do to accomplish our missions, but fortunately for us, Hashem does. In His complete and pure mercy, He puts every single person in the exact circumstances he needs to fulfill his purpose here.
Before we even came into the world, we were shown the lives we needed to live to fulfill this purpose. Knowing what was at stake, we practically begged Hashem for it. After we came here, however, we forgot about that. Now we ask, “Hashem, why are You doing this to me?”
Sometimes the situations are embarrassing. Sometimes they are painful, but if we actually knew what we are accomplishing in each circumstance Hashem puts us in, we would be thanking Him for each and every one of them. Perhaps we are pleading to Hashem for a certain result, but Hashem knows that if the results turn out the way we want, we could not accomplish what we are meant to be doing here.
Although it might seem like cruelty, in actuality, even when we get the opposite of what we hoped for, that, too, is mercy. A person could be a tzaddik, doing everything right. Maybe that is why he has the merit to experience what he is experiencing here to be able to take delight in Hashem forever.
Our sojourn in This World is very short: 70, 80, 90 years. The Next World is forever. That is where we are going to enjoy. The only way to do it, however, is to go through This World first.
If we can trust that even during the darkest times it is still our loving Hashem doing what is best for us, we will be greatly elevated. That itself can take the place of other difficult circumstances we were supposed to experience.
Hashem loves us more than we can imagine. Soon He is going to reveal this love to us, but for now, it is our job to trust.