I went to a gathering of women saying Tehillim (Psalms) today in anticipation of the new Jewish month of Tammuz. Our guest speaker was a Breslover Chosid, and he has several things to say, but one of them really stuck in my mind.
He said that the world waited for the Torah to be given on Mt. Sinai in order for there to be clarity of purpose. After Matan Torah, or giving of the Torah as we call it, the world was defined, and everyone knew their place and what was expected of them. But what did the world do before Matan Torah?
Now here's the good part. It appears that G-d has a treasure chest of free gifts that He bestows on petitioners. All you have to do is ask G-d for what you need, in the form of prayer, and G-d's mercy knows no bounds. The supply of free gifts is never-ending, pointing to the infinity of the Creator.
Here's a story he told as illustration. Many years ago in Russia, a Breslover Chosid's wife gave birth to a child that was not well, and it didn't look good. The wife asked her husband to go to the Rebbe, Rabbi Nachmun, and ask for a blessing. When the chosid did ask his Rebbe for the blessing, Reb Nachmun said he could not - it had been decreed in Heaven that this child would not live. Broken-hearted, the chosid went home and told his wife.
The wife did the only thing she knew how to do: she pulled up a chair to the baby's cradle and spent the night praying and crying, beseeching the Creator to spare her baby's life. The next morning, when the chosid saw his Rebbe, the Rebbe announced joyously that the decree had been lifted, and that due to the merit of the wife's davening, the baby would have long life. That baby grew up and lived to be 100 years old.
The morale of the story: never lose hope. The Holy One is filled with mercy towards those worthy of it, and listens fully to our pleas.
Now, Hashem, about my finals. . .