In membership, stories

Peter L. WeinwurmBy Peter L. Weinwurm.

The phrase “One who has struggled with God and has overcome” offers such natural alternative embodying into our human identity.

My own wrestling with God began in time of horrible human struggle, accepting it as an outcome of my total despair. The life was projected to me as an ongoing hopeless termination, becoming meaningless in its futile sense.

Confronted with most painful circumstances I wrestled with something what many ancestors already did. And my darkest days as shown later, became preludes to the most creative times of my life. To be not only rescued, but to be enlightened.

When abandoned ideals turn into bad dreams, they keep coming back, refusing to accept the reality, appearing in unusual forms of sincerity with spiritual sub-content and repentance. A very unfamiliar territory and difficult to comprehend at the time of misfortunes.

Religiously steered experiences can occur when we are alone, physically and emotionally, far from home, at nights. With unknown force hopelessly taking us deeper and deeper into nightmares, mirroring failures and shortcomings. In recognizing good from evil with unusual clarity and transparency.

We keep accepting, less and less hesitant to the surrender, turning doubt upside down, regaining reasoning and cause of faith.

And refusing to let faith go until it turns in to prayers and prayers to trust.

So sincere was my experience with facing the faith, relentless and as penetrating, seeing evil as evil and love as love.

The brutal uncompromising awakening, terrifying moments of astonishment.

No longer being able to cope with the shame, to connect with others or sleep at night or stay awake during the day. All these suddenly came appearing from nowhere.

What follows is what I learned from it.

When the wrestling match starts, we are left alone.

The wrestling match must take place within us, within our own boundaries first.

The reflections can be elaborate, deep and painful, the result can be overwhelming and everlasting.

To be prepared for inner war there is the need to accept and cope with robust repentance resulting from it.

I started to pray to God with undeniable intensity, using my own simple words first, lacking clear understanding what is happening. Turning towards dearest, my children and my wife, and anticipating the worst and excepting  it with deep guilt.

The appearance of adversary in me was my guilt, fight with conscience in conditions which I never experienced before.

I was exposed to nothingness and uncertainty, unknown and unpredictability, Described in verse of Exodus “You will not know what, where or how I will be until the moment comes”.

The Faith is not certain till the moment it happens. Until that time it is just a courage to live.

Externalization of any inner conflict results in fear and distress, It is a wrestling with ourselves and winning, as the only way to survive in its outside world.

We can not win this lonely in darkness with no God’s relevance.

Crises can challenge us at the deepest level, threatening our self-respect but with a chance to give us back the will to love and live in the most magnificent and meaningful way.

I must say, God believes in us more than we believe in ourselves.

The true self-confidence is born when the faith lights in darkness.

“The Lord is with me, I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” (Psalm 118:6)

And I must say, God wants to teach each of us the lesson how to wrestle with fear and how to defeat it. Teshuvah

When I reflect, I see clearly, everything what I had feared failed to happen. 

And everything what I didn’t expect to be is becoming.

Is this coincidence or fluke? There is not word fluke or coincident in our mother’s tong language. There is no Hebrew word like that.

It doesn’t mean that I never have to fight battles again. But it will be done with Jewish faith and love of God, with devotion and fellowship of my people. Because the more we share the more blessings we receive. 

I am still limping, bearing my scars. I am still asking for God’s help and blessings as the only way to prosper. I have received it and through it I continue in learning of lessons.

We should never give up till we extract all positives from pain and turn it into uninterrupted blessings.

That is how struggling can help to bring us closer to Torah, to Shabbat and to the goodness of good deeds.

We all have memories of exiles, dangers, disappointments, hopes, delayed expectations. We all at one point became fighters and fought or struggled, but we should never give in.  Life is the teacher which can not pre-empt crisis, but we can learn to overcome. That test becomes worthy to live and to bear the name of one who struggled most and prevailed. The Nation of ISRAEL .

Any survival is a mysterious and wonderful transformation. From a stage of resistance and misunderstanding, into a stage of spiritual providence.

Our Religion is an alternative.  And it has always been for thousands of years, with the endless strength to cope with many brutal realities of our life, our faith and fate, often exposed to injustice and pain and deep disappointments.

Prophet Zachariah gives one of the most concise digest of those Jewish experiences” Not by might, nor by power, but by God’s spirit…

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