What Real Bitachon Feels Like

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Imagine a five-year-old, walking with her mother into the hospital for her second chemotherapy treatment. The little girl knows what’s coming. She remembers the pain. She understands the nausea. She knows what it’s like to brush her hair and watch clumps come out. Yet, she holds her mother’s hand, and goes along, because “Mommy said I need to do this.”

The child doesn’t understand cancer. She certainly doesn’t understand how throwing up for a week cures it. But she knows that Mommy loves her. She knows that Mommy takes care of her. And she knows that Mommy knows what’s best. She fully trusts her mother.

That is the type of trust we can develop in Hashem—the almost blind trust of a child. I know that Hashem is looking out for my best interests. I know that Hashem loves me more than I love myself. And I know that Hashem knows better than I do what’s for my best. So I trust Hashem. I trust that Hashem is right here, in charge of my life, orchestrating the events for my ultimate good.

So I walk through life fully confident. Not confident that things will turn out as I have planned them. Not confident that life will have a Hollywood ending. But confident that Hashem has chosen the best path for me, and is leading me down it. So I take Hashem’s hand, so to speak, and walk with unwavering trust.

Taking Control of My Thoughts

One of the best techniques to grow in trusting Hashem is to memorize certain phrases and repeat them over and over like a mantra: Hashem loves me more than I love myself. Hashem knows better than I do what is for my best.

When I say these phrases again and again, they start to sink in. I begin to recognize on an emotional level that “I don’t really know.” I learn to trust in Hashem’s wisdom and kindness. And then I can do that which we humans find so difficult to do—accept what Hashem has decreed with joy.

Real bitachon takes a lifetime to develop. It’s a growth process, with many steps along the journey. Each of the Avos and Imahos had many, many difficult life situations—not because Hashem couldn’t do any better or because He was uncaring, but because we can’t learn bitachon in the beis midrash. We can’t learn to trust Hashem from a book or a tape. It’s only when we are challenged by life situations that we are forced to respond. Do we transcend or do we just crumble? Do we search for the bigger picture, for the reason why Hashem might be doing this? Or are we left with questions and complaints about the way He runs the world?

The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.