“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. There are so many things about God and His ways we will never understand. Even Job cried out: “ How great is God--beyond our understanding!” I read a story in Polano’s Talmud that tries to answer the question so many people ask; “Why do God allows ‘bad’ things to happen to good people.” A rabbi, a friend of Elijah’s, wished to join Elijah in his wanderings in order to understanding God ways. Elijah granted his wish only if he refrained from asking any questions about any of the prophet’s actions. He agreed and they began their journey. The first place they came to was the house of an elderly couple who were so poor they had only one old cow. The old couple gave of their hospitality as best they could. The next morning, as the travellers left, Elijah prayed that the old cow would die and it did. The second place they came to was the home of a wealthy man. He had no patience for his visitors and chased them away with the admonition that they should get jobs and not beg from honest people. As they were leaving, they passed the man’s wall and saw that it was crumbling. Elijah prayed that the wall be repaired and it was so. Next, they came to a wealthy synagogue. They were allowed to spend the night with only the smallest of provisions. When they left, Elijah prayed that every member of the synagogue might become a leader. Finally, they came to a very poor synagogue. Here they were treated with great courtesy and hospitality. When they left, Elijah prayed that God might always give them a single wise leader. At this Rabbi Joshua could no longer hold back. He demanded of Elijah an explanation of his actions. Elijah explains: • At the house of the old couple, Elijah knew that the Angel of Death was coming for the old woman. So he prayed that God might take the cow instead. • At the house of the wealthy man, there was a great treasure hidden in the crumbling wall. Elijah prayed that the wall be restored thus keeping the treasure away from the miser. • A synagogue with many leaders will be ruined by many arguments, there will not be peace. • A town with a single wise leader will be guided to success and prosperity. The story ends with a moral: “Know then, that when you see evil-doers prosper, it is not always to their advantage, and if a righteous man suffers do not think that God is unjust, it is part of the master plan” Even though this may not be a true reflection of God’s dealing with men, the absolute truth stands out; “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him.” (Romans 8:28) He has also assured us that no trial will test us beyond our ability to bear it, and “he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (1 Corinthians 10:13). May God’s blessings rest on each and every one this week.