ליקוטי הלכות: יורה דעה - הלכות בכור בהמה טהורה ד:ג
וְאַתָּה, וַעֲבָדֶיךָ: יָדַעְתִּי--כִּי טֶרֶם תִּירְאוּן, מִפְּנֵי יְהוָה אֱלֹהִים -And I know that you and your servants will not fear Hashem (שמות ט:ל) - The whole point of the creation of the world was to reveal His awe and kingship… And all the miracles and wonders that Hashem made in Egypt were done in order to reveal his awe and kingship… And Par’oh did not want to subdue himself and to accept the yoke of Hashem’s awe and kingship after witnessing the signs and wonders. About this it is written, “And I know that you and your servants will not fear Hashem.” But, about Yisrael it is written, “And Yisrael feared Hashem’s great Hand with which He smote Egypt. And the nation feared Hashem.” . . . . The Egyptians didn’t want to subdue themselves to Hashem’s magnificence, and thus he brought a plague upon them in order to arouse them, so they should know who was striking them, and that they should free Yisrael. But rather, they didn’t do anything, and they hardened their hearts. And Hashem brought upon them more plagues every time they failed to wake up. But, for Yisrael it was good, because after every plague that Hashem brought upon the Egyptians they accepted Hashem’s greatness even more so.
After every travesty and disaster that unfortunately happens in this world man suddenly asks, “Hashem, how could you let such and such happen? Where were you to stop it?” Whether it is a personal sickness ortzara or a global tragedy it is man’s natural reaction to question G-d. Naturally we say, “Oh, who are you to question Hashem’s wonders? He does what he thinks is just, and you can’t ever fathom His ways!” Now, of course this is true, but I think that after some tragedy a question is warranted not to Hashem, but to ourselves!
We know that Hashem is like a father, and it pains Him to cause us strife and grief. But, he does it for a reason. That reason is to WAKE US UP! A headache isn’t just a painful constriction of blood vessels in the scalp, but it is rather a knock on our door. Hashem is at the door saying, “Hey Chezi! I’m trying to tell you something! This headache is from me, and I want you to come back to my Torah!”
Reb Nosson is pointing out that each subsequent plague wasn’t brought upon the Egyptians because they failed to free Bnei Yisrael. True, that was part of it, but what they failed to do was realize that Hashem yisborach was the Creator and King of the whole world. Hashem was effectively saying, Mitzrim, you're too dumb to see that all of these creations are from me? Well, guess what's coming to you now. Maybe NOW you'll see that such a wonder is from Me, and that I am the boreh ha'olam.
It should be Hashem’s will that we heed his every call. We should know that every pang is just a knock from Hashem telling us to wake up and pay attention to Him.