Your name shall be called Israel, for you have struggled with G‑d . . . and prevailed.

Genesis 32:29

There are times in my life when I really feel resentful towards You. I feel so much anger for the anguish You cause.

After all, all that I ask for is security, tranquility, happiness and love. Is that too much to ask? It would be so easy for You to provide this to me!

Yet, time after time, You throw insurmountable challenges my way. You tantalize me with periods of calm and happiness, only to abruptly disrupt them with new dark and terrifying storms.

It is true that, in retrospect, I often discover that I’ve grown from these challenges. But all too often—in fact, more often than not—this growth is not at all apparent to me. I’m left instead with a deep sense of insecurity, wondering how You could have forsaken me like that, haunted by the fear of the next impending storm.

It is true that many times I perceive the positive benefits of these trials. But, believe me, even then, the benefits do not erase the prior pain. The hurt that You had inflicted on me was real. So was the fear, and the tears that fell from my eyes.

Knowing that You are all-capable, how do I justify the suffering that You inflict on me? Knowing that You certainly could have somehow arranged it that I should reap the intended benefit without needing to experience the pain, how can I understand, much less explain, Your actions?

And, it isn’t merely the question of me. My anger and resentment is amplified and magnified by the many others around me. I see their suffering and hardship, their wants and needs, and I have no answers.

Perhaps if You answered me, You would tell me that I shouldn’t focus on the lacks, but on the good in our world. I should be grateful for the many positive things in my life—the love that surrounds me, my family, my health—the abundant goodness that You have blessed me with.

For some reason, though, the taste of that sweetness makes me drunk for more.

And the love You shower upon me makes me need the goodness more. It’s not just for me now, but also for my loved ones. My passionate protectiveness for them makes my needs—our needs—all the more pressing.

So, those are the times when I feel resentful towards You. My mind cannot justify why You allow it to happen. Why don’t You shield me, them, all of us, from the rampant misery? From the wanton need? Why is the very fabric of our world threaded with so much unwarranted pain and adversity?

As the fears churn inside me, as I awaken in the night tossing and turning with anxiety, my mind screams: Why? Why must it be so?

But is it not then, in my deepest moments of despair, when I feel Your abandonment most keenly, that I find myself rising to communicate with You?

Isn’t it when I feel most torn and alone that I most ardently seek You? Is it not when my anger and resentment builds that I feel Your presence most strongly, and find myself reaching for You?

Indeed, perhaps the anger highlights our closeness. Perhaps the resentment reveals the depth of our bond. Perhaps my ability to question You, to feel so intensely towards You—even if, at times, against You—shows just how much You mean to me. Perhaps it is because Your goodness is so apparent to me, because Your power and omnipotence are so real to me, that my emotions are so aroused.

And maybe that is why in my deepest moments of despair and abandonment I also feel Your comfort.