Beyond Belief

“Reason can help you better understand what you see, but it will have a hard time convincing you that you never saw it. So too, emunah endures even when reason can’t catch up… the greatest vitamin you can provide emunah is plain exercise.” – Rabbi Tzvi Freeman

“the basic, root meaning of emunah is trust and reliance, not intellectual acquiescence in the truth of certain propositions… If one disobeys a command and is therefore accused of lack of emunah, it makes much more sense to say that one is being accused of lack of trust in the commander than of quibbling over the accuracy of statements made by or about the commander… loyal behavior, not systematic theology” – Dr. Menachem Kellner

“So you’re impressed with yourselves that with your emunah you can recite the kri’at Shema, nu? O you do so well…why, even the shedim have your da’as and emunah! But they shudder!” – Yaakov 2:19 (Orthodox Jewish Bible)

“The twice daily mitzva of kri’at shema is defined as a declaration of basic tenets of belief…” – Rav Moshe Taragin

Not to be just in our mouth, but more importantly on our hearts. What is inside will come out. Not only in our speech, but also, and more telling, in our actions.

“Therefore, let us approach the Holiest Place with a sincere heart, in the full assurance that comes from trusting — with our hearts sprinkled clean from a bad conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us continue holding fast to the hope we acknowledge, without wavering; for the One who made the promise is trustworthy.” – Hebrews 10:22-23 (Complete Jewish Bible)

Some say flying, but right now it feels like falling. And yet…

“Why do you say, O Jacob,
And speak, O Israel:
‘My way is hidden from the Lord,
And my just claim is passed over by my God’?
Have you not known?
Have you not heard?
The everlasting God, the Lord,
The Creator of the ends of the earth,
Neither faints nor is weary.
His understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the weak,
And to those who have no might He increases strength.
Even the youths shall faint and be weary,
And the young men shall utterly fall,
But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.”
(Isaiah 40:27-31 New King James Version)

“Ani maamin! Help my lack of emunah!” No longer claiming perfect faith. Our heart cries echo his prayer.

Jesus waited until the crowd gathered. They witnessed the blessing of a man who had renounced his independence.

“Peter said to Him, ‘You shall never wash my feet!’ Jesus answered him, ‘If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.’ Simon Peter said to Him, ‘Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!'”

And yet there must be something in Jesus telling the father of the sick child that prayer (and fasting) were the keys to deliverance. Is it a greater statement about how His prayer and fasting delivered us?

“And having been made shalem, to all those with mishma’at toward Rebbe, Melech HaMoshiach, he became the source of Yeshu’at Eloheinu Olamim” (Hebrews 5:9 OJB)

“The feminine noun משמעת (mishma’at), meaning subjects, or literally group of guys who listen.” (Abarim Publications’ online Biblical Hebrew Dictionary)

“Mishma’at refers to the group of people who hearken to the king and are particularly close to him…” – Rav Amnon Bazak

My experience has been that prayer and fasting do not work like sorcery to make things happen. Rather, they realign my mind to hear and see more clearly, spiritually and otherwise.

A study in prayer is desired. But it’s too late and my heart needs time to process just the slightest taste of the glimpse of this magnificence.

“God, the Master, The Holy of Israel, has this solemn counsel: ‘Your salvation requires you to turn back to me and stop your silly efforts to save yourselves. Your strength will come from settling down in complete dependence on me— The very thing you’ve been unwilling to do.'” – Isaiah 30:15 MSG


What Do You Know?

I’m the person who is mildly annoyed with having so many options to choose from in the toilet paper aisle at the grocery store. 😄 So it’s a bit unsettling to have so many options available when attempting to plan my life for 2018 without knowing where I will be working. First world problems; blessed to have them. But, problems nonetheless.
Some know how I used to rely so much on “signs” and trying to muster up “great faith” as ways to feel some measure of control over the future. After learning the hard way over and over, I think I’m finally leaving the miracles up to God’s discretion. And quit thinking I can foretell the future. How many times has He shown me His ways and thoughts are higher than mine? Thankfully.
There’s a tricky balance because I still believe He can do anything. And I still believe there are desires in our hearts that might be seeds of something greater. But I’m leaving behind what I now call the witchcraft. Just going to make practical decisions based on wisdom. Do my best and trust God with the rest. Living loved, but not lazy or crazy.
Probably a lot of people don’t agree with me. Especially those that are religious. I myself have run the whole gamut from name-it-and-claim-it to feeeeeeling like I’ve been “called” to do such-and-such or feeeeeeeling like I know what God is saying. Not so sure anymore. When I’m passionate about something, I throw my whole self into it. So I think I’ve sufficiently humiliated (and hopefully humbled) myself enough trying to go down that path over and over in the past to have learned a few things.
Haven’t lost my belief in God at all. Just putting extremely little faith in my ability to discern what He is thinking or doing beyond what He’s already told and shown us. Approaching God and life more like a child now. Doing my best to stumble along in limited understanding. Trusting that is somehow enough because I’m His kid and He loves me. Long before I knew or loved Him.
That being said, I’m ok with being corrected if I’m wrong. Enjoying newfound freedom from the taskmaster of perfectionism. For once in my life. Failure is not the end of me. Failure is not an indication of my value. Failure is at least an indication that I had the courage to live, to put myself out there. Failure is hopefully a growing opportunity. Learn from it, recalibrate, try again, and never give up.