This was posted last year but the message is so powerful, I wanted to post it again. Everyone is going through their own painful times. Every time I read this I am strengthened anew. I hope you will gain from it too!
There is a story told about a little boy who lived in South Florida and decided to go for a cooling swim in the old swimming hole behind his house. In a hurry to dive into the cool water, he forgot to check the water for dangers before he jumped in. He didn’t realize that as he swam towards the middle of the lake, an alligator was swimming to the shore.
In the house the mother was looking out the window and saw the two as they got closer and closer together. Terrified, she ran toward the water, yelling to her son as loudly as she could. Hearing her voice, the little boy became alarmed and made a u-turn to swim towards his mother. But it was too late. Just as he reached her, the alligator reached him.
From the dock, the mother grabbed her little boy by the arms just as the alligator snatched his legs. That began an incredible tug-of-war between the two. The alligator was much stronger, but the mother loved her son too much to let go. A farmer happened to drive by and heard the screams, raced from his truck and shot the alligator.
Remarkably, after weeks in the hospital, the little boy survived. His legs were extremely scarred by the vicious attack of the animal, and on his arms were deep scratches where his mother's fingernails had dug into him in her effort to hang on to the son she loved.
A newspaper reporter, who interviewed the boy after the trauma, asked if he'd show him his scars. The boy lifted up his pant leg. And then, with obvious pride, he said to the reporter, "But look at my arms. I have great scars on my arms, too. I have them because my mom wouldn’t let go."
You and I can identify with this little boy. We all have our own scars as well. Not from an alligator, or anything quite so dramatic, but the scars of wrong decisions and mistakes. Some of those scars are unsightly and have caused us deep regret. But some wounds are there because Hashem wants to protect and provide for you in every way. But sometimes we foolishly wade into dangerous situations. The swimming hole of life is filled with peril – and we sometimes forget that the yetzer hara is waiting to attack. That's when the tug-of-war begins. As the yetzer hara scars your legs with aveiros, Hashem is scarring your arms with tzaros only to get you out of the yetzer hara's grasp.
Don’t complain that your tefillos concerning your tzaros aren’t being answered because they are the answer. Be very grateful for those scars on your arms because it is telling you that Hashem did not and will not let you go.