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Trust

Friday, 7 January, 2022 - 10:56 am

Trust is the foundation of emotionally security and trust can be seriously shaken, especially when disturbing events hit close to home.

Thirty years ago, I knew about the horrors of terrorism, but conventional wisdom said that it couldn’t happen in America.

So, I trusted and slept peacefully . . . until September 2001.

Twenty years ago, I believed that financial slumps were just part of the normal market cycle, and that our economic system is solid and reliable. I even believed that some companies are too big to fail (TBTF) and here for the long run, no matter what happens in the short term.

So I trusted; and I slept peacefully. Until 2008.

When I was in High School, I studied about the ravages of the 1918 Spanish Flu. At the time, it felt like ancient history, before our incredible strides in science and public health.  I was certain that could never happen again. So I trusted; and I slept peacefully. Until 2020.

We’re living in a world virtually unimaginable only three years ago. What and who can we trust? Is anything in the world truly secure? TBTF?

Of course, I believe in G‑d, and I believe that G‑d loves, guides and helps me. But believing in G‑d is one thing; genuinely trusting G‑d is quite another.

When I trust someone at work, I’m fully expecting them to carry a load. I expect good results from that person because I trust him/her. In Jewish theology, that’s what ‘Trust in G‑d’ means. It means relying on a G‑d Who cares and is able; a G-d Who loves us so much that He’ll even help the ‘undeserving.’ Trust means expecting good results, appreciable in the here and now. Why? Because G‑d is carrying the burden.

That kind of trust isn’t instinctively easy, because it’s somewhat counter-intuitive.

In life, we need to expend human efforts to achieve results, so it’s natural for us to attribute the results to our own efforts. We don’t usually see G‑d carrying our burden.

The Torah tells me to actively invest effort into my life, even as the Torah tells me to trust G-d to come through with the results I seek. G‑d wants His blessings to flow through a human conduit, but G-d wants me to trust that the final results will be His. And G‑d wants me to trust that those results - - because they flow from the Divine - will be appreciably good.

The third Chabad Rebbe had the following advice: “Think positively and it will be positive.” He wasn’t only giving psychological advice, it was innately Judaic guidance.

My trust in G-d, my absolute reliance on a loving G‑d to deliver positive results for my efforts, is a critical spiritual trigger for good things to happen. And the results reflect the amount of my trust.

Trust – especially today - isn’t easy. But looking at history, G‑d has earned our trust.

So I’m in.

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