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I Believe in You

It is good to praise the LORD 
    and make music to your name, O Most High, 
proclaiming your love in the morning 
    and your faithfulness at night . . .  — Psalm 92:1–2

“I believe in you” are four of the most powerful words that one person can ever say to another. Those words are life-giving. They tell a person that they matter, that they are valuable, and that they are needed in this world.

Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, a 20th century Torah scholar and song composer, once said:  “Everyone knows that it’s important to teach our children to have faith in God. But do you know how important it is to teach our children that God has faith in them?” What a gift to give our children! A person who knows that God believes in them can weather even the toughest storms in life.

In Psalm 92, the words of King David encourage us to praise God for His “love in the morning” and his “faithfulness at night.” The usual understanding of this verse is that we praise God for His love and dependability. The morning represents the good times in our lives, when everything is bright and sunny. In those wonderful times, it is important to give thanks and recognize God’s abundant love for us. The night, on the other hand, represents the dark times in our lives, when everything looks bleak and uncertain. In those times, we trust that God will faithfully carry us through until tomorrow’s sunrise.

But there is another way to understand the verse. In the midst of the Holocaust, one of the darkest nights that the world has ever experienced, a saintly rabbi encouraged his terrified brethren with these words: “The verse says, ‘and your faithfulness at night,’ meaning God’s faith, not our faith. It’s not our faith in God that gets us through the toughest times in life; it’s His faith in us.” When the night is so dark and so long, what keeps us going is remembering how much God believes in us.

At times, we feel like giving up. Life is tough, and sometimes we feel defeated or even worse, we feel worthless. But the rabbi’s message tells us that if we are still here, it’s because God believes in us. We have a mission, and we are up to the task. If not, we wouldn’t have woken up this morning. Every day that we are alive means that we have a job to do. God needs us, and the world needs us. So how could we possibly give in to feelings of despair?

In Psalm 92, if you listen closely, you can hear God say, “I believe in you!” If you ever feel like giving up or that your life isn’t worth very much, remember these words. Teach them to your children and to your friends. If God believes in us, shouldn’t we, too?

With prayers for shalom, peace,

Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Founder and President

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November 6, 2016
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