I was once speaking with a gentleman who said to me I have no bitachon (trust). I have no bitachon — I’m worried about tuitions and I’m worried about my mortgage payment, yet I make a substantial living, I’m doing very well. Obviously I have no bitachon. And I said to him I believe that you’re misreading the situation.
I said imagine the following. Imagine that you and I walk home every night. Imagine during that five or six minute walk you and I have very different experiences. I walk home calm, cool, collected, smiling. And every time you walk home you’re trembling, filled with dread. Clearly I’m a person with a lot of bitachon and you’re a person without any bitachon, right? Until we study the situation. Until we see that I live in a beautiful suburban area and when I walk the streets people smile at me while they’re playing with their children. And I have nothing to fear. And you live in the inner city. You pass drug dealers, crack addicts who are only focused on their next fix. The reason why I’m calm is because there is no threat. The reason why you’re nervous is because there is a very real threat. What I said to this gentleman is bitachon is an overlay based on your personality. Some people by nature are calm, some people by nature are nervous. If you by nature are a calm and easygoing person, it doesn’t indicate that you have a lot of bitachon, it indicates that that’s your nature.
Bitachon is recognizing that Hashem is there. Bitachon is recognizing that Hashem is involved in my life. If by nature I’m easygoing and I just assume bad things won’t happen, that’s my temperament. Bitachon isn’t just having an easygoing nature; bitachon is when I’m facing real fear, when I’m in danger, understanding that Hashem is there, Hashem is with me. The test of bitachon is when there is reason to be afraid, that’s when I’m relying on Hashem and that’s really the indicator of my level of trust in Hashem.