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When Things Don’t Go Your Way

October 17, 2020

The LORD foils the plans of the nations;

he thwarts the purposes of the peoples.

Psalm 33:10


“Hey, thanks, Joe! Psalm 33:10 is now my new favorite Bible verse!” said nobody. Ever.

Couple it with a classic Yiddish saying, Der mentsh trakht un got lakht (loosely put, “People plan, God laughs”) and yeah boy howdy now we are on a ROLL!


But it feels like that sometimes.

Sometimes it’s all so frustrating and upsetting.

Where do you go when that happens?

From a fellow pastor, Rabbi Michael Farbman, of the same tradition that brought us things like, uhm, well, like Psalm 33:10, comes  this (as usual, the highlights are mine) —

Judaism constantly reminds us to be a little less self-assured; not to ignore the fragility of life, of our health, of our safety and security.

Not to fall into despair — far from it — but instead to approach life, and especially all of our plans, with a little more humility.

Traditionally observant Jews often say be’ezrat haShem (“God willing”). For some, perhaps, this phrase does mean that they accept God’s control in every aspect of their lives, but I think the more appropriate reading of this phrase is to say that as we plan, we should remember that not all plans can come to fruition.

And if some of our plans, no matter how big or small, cannot happen, perhaps we can take a deep breath and remind ourselves that sometimes things don’t work out the way we planned them – and that’s okay, too.

— You wanna say “Amen!” with me? That’s the easy part.

You wanna live into these truths with me? That’s the tricky part.

As son LJ4 would say, “Yup, that’s real life.”

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