A mouse runs into a house and the cat is immediately after it. The housewife seeing the commotion, starts running after the mouse as well. They’re off to trot, the cat and the housewife, both after the mouse, but for very different reasons. One wants the mouse for supper, the other wants the mouse; out of the house.
Rabbi Akiva who lived to be 97 years old 137CE was appallingly tortured to death by the wicked Romans. In response to his students, who asked him how he could offer prayers to G-d while being killed, he said to them.
"All my life I was worried about the verse, ‘with all your soul’ (and the sages expounded this to signify), even if He takes away your soul. And I said to myself, when will I ever be able to fulfill this command? And now that I am finally able to fulfill it, I should not?" Then he extended the final words, Hashem Echad (" G-d is One") until his life expired with that word. A heavenly voice went out and announced: "Blessed are you, Rabbi Akiva that your life expired with "Echad" One.
The question is asked, what did the students really think at that moment? Perhaps Rabbi Akiva would buckle in, and throw out his faith?!
Rabbi Akiva taught throughout his life, all that G-d does is for the good. When someone is going through difficulties and challenges, it’s not that anyone has it in for the person. There is justice in this world, and the wise and compassionate G-d is behind everything. Nothing can happen without the will of G-d for it to be. The whole shebang doesn’t have to make sense in OUR minds, and no one owes us an explanation. G-ds mind is infinite, and the extraordinary mind who put together this precise and stunning universe, is impossible to fathom.
Even further, although G-d created the evil and darkness intentionally to test us, and create the opportunity to earn reward, the occurrence itself should be viewed not just as something negative with an ultimate positive payoff, but deeper. The negative itself is the ultimate positive, since that is the way and method that brings the best out of us and the best from G-d, in response to our victory and success overcoming the test. The process of negativity is in truth, a process entirely good and positive, even if it hurts temporarily.
The students heard these concepts many times, and worked on implementing and applying them into their lives. However, when they saw how evil the Romans where acting, for a moment they could not fathom anything, whether in the outcome and certainly not in the process that was positive. They asked their Rabbi and teacher, “Teacher, even to this point?” They were asking, are we supposed to accept that there could be an entire positive perspective at this moment in what we are seeing and in what you our dear teacher are going through?
To which Rabbi Akiva answered. Yes my dear students. Even to this point. We must know, everything is designed and is deliberate, by an infinite G-d, for our own good, at THIS MOMENT.
My entire life, said Rabbi Akiva, every day, when I said the portion of the Shema Yisroel - Hear oh Israel…, in the morning and in the night, I always wondered if I could, and if I would, stand up to the occasion and show G-d my faith and loyalty in Him. THIS, is my chance.
When the mouse runs into our homes, there are many perspectives one can take. It is up to each one of us to choose, the one that strengthens and uses the opportunity for what is was intended. FOR OUR OWN GOOD, at this moment.