She's only seven years old, and the doctors say there is no hope.

They say she has lost her battle with cystic fibrosis, that she will live only a few more weeks, perhaps a month. But for some reason, nobody has stopped praying.

Naturally, these prayers are different than the ones we offered a year ago; those were strong and full of hope. Then, we still believed in miracles.

Today we're praying because there's nothing left to do. Because it's too frightening to give up on G‑d.

I recall reading, as a child, a very poignant statement made by Rabbi Aryeh Leib, the "Grandfather of Shpoli."

He said to the Almighty: "Master of the Universe! The sages of the Talmud pleaded before You to bring Moshiach. You chose not to do so. The holy Ari begged You to bring Moshiach - again You were unwilling. We have reached the point where it is left to someone of my ilk to ask for the Redeemer. Still You are holding out.

"Mark my words. There will come a generation who will have no interest in You or Your Moshiach. Then You will have no choice but to bring Him...."

The intensity of the Shpoler Zeide's words and the sincerity in his cry had a profound effect on me. I remember wondering why we didn't all simply give up, thereby fulfilling this tzadik's prediction wherein G‑d would be forced to bring Moshiach. Wouldn't it be easier to hasten the redemption that way, as opposed to us attempting to spread the word of G‑d all over the globe?

In the same vein, I sometimes wonder if we would achieve more if we stopped being so submissive, and decided to put an end to all our efforts. Perhaps a quicker way of getting G‑d to cure the sick and feed the poor would be to close our prayer books and walk away for a day. What would He do then? Wouldn't He have no choice but to make His presence obvious to us?

I'm in a quandary. I want G‑d to hear my prayers, but I also want Him to know that I'm not going to stand there and pray forever.

And yet, I'm so afraid to give up, because I'm struck by a thought that is both awesome and frightening:

Could it be that we stop believing in miracles because we always give up just before they're about to happen?

Could it be that when G‑d challenges our faith, the crux of the test is at that point when the human would naturally resign, but if we held on for just one more moment, we would see the light?

This is, perhaps, one of the greatest struggles in life. Knowing how to hold on long after reality tells us not to; trusting that there is a reason not to give up even though all the odds are stacked against us; learning the art of endurance, of tenacity, and understanding what it really means to live each day with genuine faith.

But almost as soon as I have made peace with a life of patient prayer and hope, I feel the aggression kicking in again. I recall the Torah's account of the meraglim (lit: spies; those who were sent to scout out the Land of Israel) and the Jews' subsequent reaction to their negative reports about the Land of Israel. G‑d is angered at the Jews' lack of faith in Him and threatens to kill them in the desert, but Moshe pleads:

"...if You kill this nation...the nations who have heard of Your reputation will say as follows: 'Since the Lord lacked the ability to bring this nation to the Land which He swore to them, He slaughtered them in the desert.' "

In effect, Moshe is threatening G‑d with His reputation. I latch on to this; I have found comfort in Moshe's approach. "It's true, G‑d," I think to myself. "If You don't show Your mercy, they're not going to say nice things about You."

Perhaps my use of this tactic is really a subconscious way of copping out of my own responsibility. I think of Nachshon son of Aminadav, standing on the shores of the Red Sea; purposeful, focused, determined. He saw no barriers, no ocean; no obstacles in the way of his desire. He saw Mount Sinai in the distance, and he saw the future of a nation, spread before him like the dazzling night lights of a beautiful city. He plunged into the sea, not expecting a miracle per se, but still knowing, with certainty, that he would get to where he had to be. He simply wasn't going to have it any other way. And then, G‑d split the sea.

Nachshon represented the perfect combination of faith, hope, and trust. He didn't bind G‑d to grant him any specific type of assistance, but at the same time he was staunch in the belief that his desires would be fulfilled.

G‑d will never question the little girl and her family; giving up, holding on, and believing in miracles have taken on a whole new meaning in their lives. But who are we, as friends, to dare let our prayers wane? How strong is our belief? Are we willing to fight the pain of reality no matter how impossible the likelihood for a miracle may seem? Do we truly trust that G‑d can do anything?

And so, as challenging as it is, we won't stop praying.

At the end of time, I will have many questions for G‑d. But I don't want Him to question me. I never want Him to ask me why I didn't hold on just that little bit longer.

True, the doctors may have it all figured out, and the rest of the world may ask where our G‑d is. But we will pray, because the Jewish soul possesses something infinite. Indeed, she knows all about life and understands nothing; she can not find what is lost, but she still believes in miracles.