Contributed by Shoshana Z.
Faithfulness (Emunah) doesn’t mean expecting miracles, only the certainty that the place I find myself is the place from which I need to make the choices before me. I don’t pray to suddenly become well, but I pray that Hashem will give wisdom and insight to researchers to find better treatments and cures to cancer and other serious disease. It is not about me, but about the greater realm, where we all find ourselves. For now it is not faithfulness (emunah) that strengthens me, but gratitude, thankfulness for the “thousands upon thousands” of wonders that I’m privileged to know and experience. The fact that I have cancer is not something to fight. It is something to accept. Of course that doesn’t mean passively ignoring medicine, or giving up or any such thing:
Only when we know where we stand can we choose to move in the right direction.
This is true in every choice, be it medical or moral.
Prayer is good, and effects change in the world. It may well bring positive outcomes, so I welcome it with joy. It is also true that “G-d is not a celestial bellhop.” Faithfulness (Emunah) is not an affirmation of G-d’s participation in our expectations, but our participation in His. It is right an good to ask Him to fulfill the desires or our hearts, but the reality is that we do not get those desires fulfilled — at least not every time.
When people talk about taking life-threatening risks, I have often responded that one understands that if it is “our time” then it is is “our time”, but I am not raising my hand to volunteer! Same here, but in reverse: Prayer is me raising my hand to volunteer for a good outcome.
My job, however, is to use the gifts that I am granted to make the very best choices available to me. Educate myself, get the tests, face the facts, and move forward.
WITH that, no in place of it, is faithfulness (Emunah): Knowing that all reality is nothing but the presence of G-d in our world.