Great Challenge, Great Reward
“The best things in life are usually difficult” (Dirk Benedict).
Most of the time, life is great. However, there are times when there are challenges in my life. The challenges vary in degrees of difficulty, but they are all challenges. I consider myself fortunate that most of the time, the challenges have not made the biggest difference in the “big picture” of my life. I had not done well on a test or assignment, I could not go to a basketball game with friends because I had work to do, I lost touch with a friend for a few weeks because we both got busy and simply did not have the time to reconnect with each other.
As much as I would love to say that my life has always been easy and that the challenges that I have faced have always been as simple as not doing well on a test, unfortunately that is not always the case. I have had some more significant challenges in my life, challenges that have shaped the way that I am today. All of the experiences that I have gone through–both the good and the bad–have made me the person that I am today.
One of those experiences was the tragic passing of my uncle when I was nine years old. My Uncle Charles, whom my brothers and I fondly referred to as “Uncle Chuckie,” was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Because I was so young, my parents did not tell me the details about his medical condition. All they told my brothers and I was that Uncle Chuckie was sick. When he started losing his hair because of the chemotherapy that he was undergoing, my parents told us that he was losing his hair because of the medicine that he was taking to help him get better. Then, one day in third grade, my mother pulled my siblings and me out of school to tell us that Uncle Chuckie had died. I remember being shocked and distraught by this news. Just the day before, my uncle had seemed to be getting better from his brain cancer and now he died? My nine year-old mind could not wrap my head around that idea. I thought he was cured from his disease and, in my mind, people do not die from diseases once they are cured.
My uncle’s death was the first time I experienced losing someone close to me. Sadly, my father has no immediate family left; most of his family had died before I was born. My uncle was the last person in my father’s immediate family to be alive and after the incident, I was angry at Hashem for causing my uncle to die. I could not understand how he could cause so much pain to my father. He caused my father to lose most of his family early on in life and now He took my uncle away from him too? I was angry at Hashem for putting so much sadness in my father’s life.
Even though I was struggling with my faith in Hashem because of this experience, my father never did. He understood that everything happens for a reason and that we must trust that Hashem will make everything turn out for the best. My father would tell me that even though we might be upset at Hashem for how a situation turned out and we might question why He would do something that causes people so much pain, we cannot let our emotions impact our service of Hashem. Serving Hashem does not always have to be happy. In fact, it is often more meaningful when we serve Him when we are not happy; that shows our commitment to Him and the laws that He put in place for us. During those times, we are choosing to believe in Him even when it is the most painful, which is not easy. But, as Dirk Benedict said, the best things in life are often the most difficult, and serving Hashem is one of the best things.