What the Rav said:
A person needs to know that things move very slowly. Rav Natan says avodat Hashem (serving G-d) doesn’t come in a year, and not in two years, and even more than that.
Rather, it takes many, many years.
Then, a person merits to pray his prayers with strength, prayers with enthusiasm and prayers with connection to G-d. Then, he also merits to become consistent in his Torah learning.
But, in the meantime, even if a person doesn’t merit this yet, the main thing is that the person knows that this path is the true path. And, he wants and yearns for it. And, he doesn’t yearn with sadness and annoyance.
Rather, he yearns with happiness, because he knows that he’s in the right place, next to the true Tzadik, which means that he’ll reach all of these things.
And, then he’ll merit to do so.
I love this piece from the Rav, because it deals with the fact that success in serving Hashem doesn’t come overnight. (If you see someone who appears to have gone from nought to sixty, from ‘secular to Tzadik’ in six months, you can be pretty sure it’s not real).
But, more than just pointing out that very important piece of information, the Rav then tells us what to do while we’re waiting!
Do we give up? Do we pretend (fake it ‘til you make it)? Do we put enormous pressure on ourselves (and everyone around us) to try to do everything perfectly in the meantime?
No - to all of the above.
We sit patiently and yearn – with happiness - for the time when Hashem will grant us the merit to serve him properly.
Serving Hashem is also in Hashem’s hands. If we try to force the issue and ‘make it happen’, then it’s considered ‘kochi v’otzem yadi’ (the strength and power of my own right hand) – which only backfires.
One of the greatest lessons we have to learn, and one of the pre-conditions to serving Hashem properly, is humility. Often, that only comes by not achieving what we want and having to wait for it. Sometimes for many years.
So, let’s try to wait with a smile on our face.