God Knows What’s BestOctober 26, 2021 - 12:00 am
“Before he had finished praying, Rebekah came out with her jar on her shoulder. She was the daughter of Bethuel son of Milkah, who was the wife of Abraham’s brother Nahor.”— Genesis 24:15
Each week in synagogue, Jews read through the Torah from Genesis to Deuteronomy. The Torah portion for this week is Chayei Sarah, which means “the life of Sarah,” from Genesis 23:1—25:18.
We were in the car on our way out to a family hike in one of the glorious national parks in the Golan, the northernmost region of Israel. My son, only seven years old at the time, blurted out, “If God loves us, it won’t rain today.” I was amused, but I also knew that I had to say something. “Well, what if God knows what’s best and decides that the best thing is for it to rain?”
My son was silent for a moment. “Well, I’m going to pray that it doesn’t rain,” he finally answered. “Go ahead. I’m sure God would love that,” I said, not able to stop smiling from the front seat of the car.
As I thought more about this exchange with my adorable son, I couldn’t help but think that adults are often no better. Don’t we all sometimes think, “If God loves me, he’ll do what I want”?
God Knows What’s Best
I thought about this when reading this week’s Torah portion and the words of Abraham’s servant, who was sent to find a wife for Isaac. Abraham had sent him to find a wife in Haran, the land where Abraham’s family still lived. Upon arrival, Abraham’s servant decided to test God.
He declared that if the girl who gave him water would also offer water to his camels, this would be a sign that God had shown him the girl who would be Isaac’s bride. But the problem is that Abraham never told his servant to test God in this way!
In fact, according to Jewish teaching, Abraham’s servant was wrong for testing God. The rabbis in the Talmud teach that God fulfilled the servant’s request anyway, out of love for Abraham. This is why the Bible tells us that God fulfilled his request “before he had finished praying.”
Here the Bible tells us that God did this not as a response to the prayer, but because of His love for Abraham. God didn’t want His servant to fail or give up in his mission, even if his test of God was inappropriate.
There is a lesson in this for all of us. God knows what’s best. He may or may not give in to our ultimatums and tests, but we must humbly know that He loves us either way.
By the way, it didn’t rain!
Your turn: In your daily prayers today, tell God that you humbly accept what He has chosen for you, that you trust He knows what is best!