I was listening to a shiur about emunah, by one of my favorite speakers, Rabbi Dovid Goldwasser. In the shiur, he shared an incredible story about a man whom he knows personally. The man was married for 20 years and couldn't have children. 20 years! We should never know of such pain -- month after month, year after year, for 20 whole years waiting to have just one child.
This man prayed every single day in shemoneh esreh. He begged HaShem for a child. Please HaShem.
My child will grow up in the ways of Torah and mitzvot.
My child will be a tzadik (or tzadika)
I will love my child.
I will try and be the best parent.
Please HaShem! Have mercy. Have pity. Give me a child. Please. I'm begging of You. A zera chaya v'kayama.
Every day, he continued these sincere tefillot.
Until one day, on the 20th year of him and his wife being barren without any children -- he came to a resolution: enough tefillot. "I am no longer going to pray for a child. I've done enough. How many tefillot did I pray already?? How many thousands of shemoneh esrehs did I pray asking, begging, pleading? 20 years is enough. Apparently it is not destined that I should have a child, so I'm going to stop asking."
And so, he began shemoneh esreh, determined not to "give in" and ask HaShem for a child. He got up to "Shemah Kolenu" -- still set on not praying for children. It was quiet in the Shul. As he was in the middle of the "Shemah Koleinu" section, he heard the cry of a baby.
"What on earth? Am I hearing things? It's 6 AM, on a week day, and I'm in Shul! There's no baby here!"
As he was brushing off this notion, figuring that it was just his imagination, he heard a cry again.
And then he broke down in tears. How much he wants to hear a baby's cry in his own home! He cried and couldn't stop sobbing; he begged HaShem, with more fervor than ever in the past 20 years, for a child.
When he got home, he told his wife what happened at Shul. She began to cry and said it's a sign from HaShem -- they shouldn't stop praying!
Exactly 10 months later, she had a healthy baby!
You may be wondering -- so was there really a baby? Was it just his imagination?
The man later found out the truth:
there was a real baby in the Shul. A man brought his baby son to Shul because the baby didn't sleep all night long, and his wife was exhausted. She barely got any sleep and had a very difficult night. Finally, the baby fell asleep in the morning, and the husband wanted to ease his wife's stress and allow her to sleep peacefully - so he took the baby to Shul, figuring that since he was asleep, he wouldn't disturb anyone. The whole time, the baby was quiet, EXCEPT for those two moments during Shema Kolenu.
This man did a chessed for his wife, and in turn, he did a chessed for this barren couple.
Look at how much HaShem loves us - He cares about each one of us so much that he sends us individual wake up calls. He never gives up on us. Even if we feel that our tefillot aren't being answered, we must continue praying. It's never valid to STOP praying simply because you give up.
Why must we continue praying? Because our prayers are being answered - with a yes, no, or a maybe. Maybe now. Maybe later. It's similar to filling up a bottle of water - drop after drop.
Today's tefillah can be that last drop to finally fill up the bottle!