Does Anyone Believe In You?
by Rabbi Aron Moss
I don't pray every day. Sometimes I'm not so sure that I believe in G-d enough to pray. I just don't think I can have the unwavering faith that people like you seem to have. I'll never be so sure. Can you pray and be a good Jew if your faith is unsteady?
To be a Jew means to struggle. The very name Israel means "one who struggles with G-d". Faith is not a light switch that you turn on and it stays on. Faith is a fire that you need to tend and fuel, and sometimes rekindle. It is a wrestle that never ends.
There are days that your faith shines through and everything fits into place. On these days, you feel at one with yourself and G-d, and prayer comes naturally. Then there are days that you wake up and it is all dark, your faith seems to have dried up. G-d, soul, prayer, goodness all seem like annoying insects buzzing in your ear, and you just want to just roll over and go back to sleep.
But even on those days, you have to find the motivation to get up and get on with it. Perhaps your faith won't get you out of bed, so how about trying another approach. Putting aside your faith in G-d, what about G-d's faith in you?
There is a powerful prayer that we say as soon as we wake up in the morning:
I give thanks to you, Living and Eternal King, for You have returned my soul to me with kindness. How great is Your faith.
The faith referred to here is not our faith in G-d, but rather G-d's faith in us. The very fact that we have woken up is proof that G-d believes in us. He knows that we are not perfect, is well aware of our failings and knows the mistakes we have made. And yet, in the morning after our sleep He returns our soul to us, and gives us another chance, because He trusts us. He has faith in our ability to change and make today a bit better than yesterday. We may or may not believe in Him, we may or may not believe in ourselves, but G-d believes in us.
Humans are fickle, G-d is constant. His faith in us is firm and unchanging, even if our faith in Him is shaky. That's the faith of an Israelite, one who struggles with G-d. We may be struggling, but we are struggling with G-d - He is always there.
If you woke up this morning, if your soul was returned to you to see another day, then give thanks. Start your day with a prayer, if not out of your faith in G-d, then at least out of G-d's faith in you. He trusts you enough to give you a precious soul. Use it.