In the Torah portion of Vayeishev, Yosef tells his brothers about his dreams, the gist of which is that in the future, he would rule over them. The fulfillment of Yosef's dreams came about when hunger forced Ya’akov and his sons to travel to Egypt, where there was plenty of food and Yosef happened to be serving as second to the king. Their descent served as the precursor to the Egyptian exile, the source of all subsequent exiles.
The cause for exile, the state in which we don't have our Bais Hamikdash and G-dliness isn't revealed, is generally understood to be because of our shortcomings and failings. However, being that G-d is good and does good, the underlying purpose of exile is to propel us to a much loftier place than we would ever reach without adversity.
When one ponders the state of our world, each day spiritually darker than the one before, one might despair of ever having the strength to light up the world with the light of Torah and mitzvot. But all spiritual descents, states of darkness and concealment, etc., are only external manifestations. The inner truth is quite different. Similar to the lobster which is squeezed and in pain due to its tight shell, only to expand and grow into a bigger, better version of itself; We, too, through the pains of life and the greatest pain of all the pain of exile, grow into something we never could have reached on our own without any challenges.
May we merit the ultimate level of calm and peace ending all of our pain and challenges with the ultimate redemption.
Rabbi Yaakov Wrightman
High School Judaic Studies Teacher