So I was in a bookstore and came across the following story in a copy of the Talmud.
INCIDENTS IN THE LIVES OF THE RABBIS.
It is man’s duty to thank God for the occurrence of evil even as for the occurrence of good, as it is written, “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” (Deuteronomy 6:5)
“With all thy heart.” With thy propensities towards good and towards evil.
“With all thy soul.” Even though he should demand thy life.
“With all thy might.” All thy personal possessions. No matter what measure be meted to thee, for good and for evil, be sincerely thankful.
Rabbi Akiba was once travelling through the country, and he had with him an ass, a rooster, and a lamp.
At nightfall he reached a village where he sought shelter for the night without success.
“All that God does is done well,” said the Rabbi, and proceeding towards the forest he resolved to pass the night there. He lit his lamp, but the wind extinguished it. “All that God does is done well,” he said. The ass and the rooster were devoured by wild beasts; yet still he said no more than “All that God dues is well done.”
Next day he learned that a troop of the enemy’s soldiers had passed through the forest that night. If the ass had brayed, if the rooster had crowed, or if the soldiers had seen his light he would surely had met with death, therefore he said again, “All that God does is done well.”
Now some people say, but hey what about injustice, AIDS, poverty, natural disasters, are those God’s good doing and love also? I personally have experienced stories like the one above and true that it’s not always good to get what you want and sometimes what you don’t want ends up being the best thing for you. But I guess the thing of it is that not everything is God’s doing. Maybe in His love God has given something to humans far more dangerous than a natural disaster, and yet just a beautiful as the leaves on a tree changing color. Choice. I chose which pants to wear today. I could have chosen not to wear pants and to walk in a restaurant, which would not be God’s doing. But perhaps as an expression of His love God has given me the ability to make decisions, even if it means that sometimes I will make bad ones. Perhaps I take this for granted, everyday. Perhaps I find it easier to blame God for bad stuff, and whine to Him when I don’t get what I want and to sometimes thank Him when I do get what I want. Perhaps I never even realize all that He gives me everyday. Perhaps I miss the fact that even if the choices I have made turn out to land me boiling tar I could still truthfully say, “All that God does is done well.” And I could truthfully say that I misused what God had given me, took it for granted, and landed myself in boiling tar. Because I have a choice and maybe that’s God’s love. Maybe, sometimes God even steps in from time to time and says (in various ways) “hey that’s not the right choice.” And maybe I have even the ability to choose to listen to His warning, or to ignore it. And maybe there is evil in this world, and that the choices we sometimes make hurt God. Perhaps He wants us to chose to live the kind of life He created humanity for, the kind that brings light where there is darkness and hope, and justice to the places that most need it.
And maybe there are times that God doesn’t give me the gift of choice, for whatever reason. And maybe that’s okay because choice is a gift.