What does it mean to live a life inspired by faith? While most of us have such busy schedules that we rarely pause to reflect upon it, from time to time we have experienced a particular event or overcome a certain challenge that for a moment caused us to reflect upon how the outcome was something greater than we imagined. And at that moment, though only for a moment, we felt a deep sense of gratitude and connection.

This is often all that life offers us in experiencing the faith that flows beneath all of our actions. But like drinking of a cool stream, it is a profoundly rejuvenating experience that can empower us in our struggles for days, or months, to come.

Faith is not a relinquishing of responsibilityPerhaps it is precisely because the experience is so fleeting, and at the same time so satisfying that the last thing on our mind is considering what, in fact, it is.

It is a wonderful opportunity to reflect upon the experience of faith and consider the way in which it motivates and even pushes us beyond what we believed ourselves capable of achieving. As a woman of Jewish faith, I can identify the driving force behind my passion for both the non-profit services world where I have resided professionally for the last ten years, and my sense of community activism on a more personal level.

Faith is not a relinquishing of responsibility. It is not an excuse for inaction that allows us to say, "The situation is out of my hands, G‑d will look after it." On the contrary, it is only when we push ourselves to the limit of our own abilities that we begin to experience true faith. Faith is the confidence of knowing that having reached a point at which we can honestly say we have done all that we can, that everything else – all that is not within our own control - will look after itself.

But this confidence we experience is not faith itself, it is a result of faith. Faith is more than just a mind set. Faith is not merely something inside us, an emotion we experience like joy or satisfaction. Faith reaches out beyond us and transforms the world around us. When we approach the world with faith, it is a power that flows from a deep well within each of us. A power that flows outside ourselves and actually orchestrates the events of our world the way we need them to be.

There is a Yiddish expression that goes "Tracht gut vet zein gut" - Think good and it will be good. It is explained in our deepest mystical teachings that our thoughts can change the world. The expression "Think good and it will be good" is not just a way of saying "Hope for the best" or "Stay positive". It is a profound teaching about the impact of our thoughts in creating and shaping our world. Faith in a positive outcome is the beginning of the solution.

Given what appears to be a hopelessly impossible situation, faith is the power to wrestle with the force of opposition that blocks what we need to accomplish. Fighting against impossible odds with our intellect alone almost inevitably makes us closed and bitter. We shut ourselves away from others in our despair. But faith is the power to remain positive and open in the face of the most stifling adversity.

The heart of one person reflects the heart of the otherIn Judaism, our Sages teach that just as water reflects the face, so too the heart of one person reflects the heart of the other. If we approach adversity with faith and confidence, we are already halfway towards achieving it. How many have experienced this? Many of us have experienced situations when we refused to be defeated or give up hope. And not only did people respond more openly, but the world itself seemed to open up.

This is a profound secret of faith that is the key to unlocking the world's most valuable treasures. Judaism teaches that G‑d established all forces in creation as a balance of opposites. In science, it is well known that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Opposition is not simply something negative. It is a sign that the outcome will make a difference. The greater the forces that fight against what you are seeking to accomplish, the greater the result must be in tipping the scale of deeds in the world to the side of good. When seen through the clarity of faith, impossible odds no longer overwhelm us. They instead spur us on by revealing that what we are doing matters.

But why should it be like this? If G‑d loves us and wants the best for us, why make it so difficult? The answer reveals the meaning behind one of life's great mysteries: why those who are good often suffer and those who are corrupt appear to prosper.

We were not put in this world to do what comes easily. We were put here to achieve the impossible. And impossible is not some objective thing outside ourselves. Actually, the impossible is measured by us.

So many things that were impossible when I was a child are now simple. Children overcome the impossible every day, learning to walk, talk, read, write, to become sensitive to the feelings of others. These are all such incredible achievements.

While G‑d could have created a world in which there was nothing that opposed goodness and kindness, we would have been missing out on G‑d's greatest gift to us: the ability to find resources within ourselves greater than we previously realized were there.

The things we treasure are precisely those things that we worked so hard forThings of little worth can be found easily. The surface of the world is covered in dirt and stones. But to find diamonds, one has to dig deep, to break through layer upon layer of the hardest rock, to get to its core. We are no different. The things that come easily to us are usually worth very little. The things we treasure are precisely those things that we worked so hard for.

This is why G‑d makes the lives of good people difficult. Because good people make a difference. And at the end of the day, it is their victory over the forces of darkness and despair that is the source of profound satisfaction.

Having gone to the point of breaking but still retaining strength, we discover that we are not as fragile as we imagined. We are ready to face tomorrow with even greater challenges that will reveal even greater strength in us.

Faith transforms us by transforming the world around us. Opposition becomes a motivating challenge and adversity is turned into opportunity to reveal greater personal resources. When we are successful, we become more than we were before. And when we reveal this new power, the world becomes a better place because of it.