A well-known tale from the Talmud (B'rachot 61b) tells the story of the great Rabbi Akiva (circa 40-137 CE) who in defiance of the Romans continued to teach and practice Torah.
One day Pappus bar Judah found Rabbi Akiva sitting in a public place teaching and studying Torah to a group of students. Fearing for Rabbi Akiva’s life, Pappas asked the master, “Are you not afraid of the Roman government?”
Rabbi Akiva replied with a parable:
'Once, a fox was walking hungrily alongside a river looking for his next meal when he saw a group of beautiful fish swimming in schools just out of his reach.
The fox called out to the fish, 'What are you fleeing from?'
The fish answered, 'We’re trying to avoid the nets that fishermen cast out to catch us.'
Slyly, the fox said, 'I know of another stream across the woods where there are no fishermen, and I would gladly carry you there so you can continue safely on your way.'
The fish weren’t fooled by the sly fox and replied, 'Aren’t you the one known as the cleverest of all the animals? You aren’t so clever after all! If we’re in danger here in the water, which is our home, how much more so would be in danger on your back and out of the water!'
'So it is with us,' Rabbi Akiva explained. 'If we’re in danger when we sit and learn, teach and practice Torah, of which it is written "For that is your life and the length of your days," (Deuteronomy 30:20), how much worse off we will be if we neglect the Torah!'
Rabbi Akiva returned to his studies and teaching.
Disclaimer: Why am I mentioning this parable of Rabbi Akiva? Because I think there is wisdom in it. For followers of Yeshua, it is a known fact that Yeshua preached in parables, so it shouldn't feel like a foreign concept me bringing up a parable. Many Rabbis before Yeshua and after Him, used parables to teach. - Disclaimer over 😎😁
I know it's tough sometimes to follow Adonai. It would be awesome if the prosperity teaching would work and with only a few words you would get to make everything be right in the name of Jesus. But this walk is not about magic. It's no abracadabra and things become the way we will them. And because of teachings like that, believers are confused when bad things happen to good people and they end up questioning Adonai... as if there's a glitch in the matrix. But He didn't lie to us. He didn't promise the world and fails to deliver it.
"I did not speak in secret, in a land of darkness; I did not say to the offspring of Jacob, ‘Seek me in vain.’ I the Lord speak the truth; I declare what is right." - Isaiah 45:19
Yeshua said, "I have told you this so that through me you may have peace. In the world you’ll have trouble, but be courageous—I’ve overcome the world!” - John 16:33
Things happen. Situations come seemingly out of nowhere and hit us with the force of a truck. Things that knock the very breath out of you and you're left helpless and confused and doubting yourself, doubting your faith and even doubting Adonai...
We're like the fish in the parable that Rabbi Akiva gave. We try to escape whatever we feel is after us and we sometimes are offered help from the wrong source. But if you're in Yeshua, if you love Him, and cling to Him, you're gonna be OK.
I heard someone say the other day that life is sometimes like a roller coaster with no breaks and you're so helpless you can't even scream during the ride. That might be so. I'm not here to say it's all in your imagination. But when that happens, you cling to Him with all your might and close your eyes if you must and hang on tight until it's over. I've been on rides like that, that lasted years not days or months. And I looked at Him with questioning eyes, imploring Him to make it stop and even wanted to let go because He seemed to refuse to listen to my prayers. But I've learned something during those rides. I did not initiate this covenant, this relationship and I don't get to let go without a fight. I understood that this relationship doesn't exist because of me. That yes, I may be clinging to Him, but my goodness, He's clinging on to me!
I might have felt sometimes that the only reason I was still walking on His way was because I knew the option is hell, but I have come to understand that for Him to lose me would mean a little personal hell as well. He loves us that much!
Yeshua said, "I give them eternal life, they’ll never be lost, and no one will snatch them out of my hand." - John 10:28
"Who will separate us from the Messiah’s love? Can trouble, distress, persecution, hunger, nakedness, danger, or a violent death do this?
As it is written,
“For your sake we are being put to death all day long.
We are thought of as sheep headed for slaughter.”
We are thought of as sheep headed for slaughter.”
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor anything above, nor anything below, nor anything else in all creation can separate us from the love of God that is ours in union with the Messiah Jesus, our Lord." - Romans 8:35-39
Like the fish in the parable, you might feel in danger even if you're in Yeshua, but if you let the deceiver convince you you'd be better out, just know that he's a liar. If you're in danger where you can breathe (in Yeshua, the One who gave you breath of Life), how much more will you be in a place where you can't even breathe?
"If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied." - 1 Corinthians 15:19
Do you know why? Because you'll feel like a fish that struggles to breathe. This relationship has ruined you for the world forever. You'll never be unable to unlearn everything you know about The Truth. And the Truth is that He came to give us life. Everything else is a bonus.
Am I saying that everything has to be a struggle? Not at all. But If it happens to be so, stay in the water!
Bat Melech בת מלך