It is true when they say that a man tolerates least of all his own well-being. Days of happiness, days of success, when everything goes according to one’s wishes-how many times have such days woven a fatal net which captures man’s soul  What dissoluteness grows in man’s heart, like rust on the blade of a battle sword when it lies unused, or like a garden which becomes overgrown if not tended by the gardener’s shears. Tell me, O Christian, what preserves you from the haughtiness which so easily penetrates even the strongest hearts, even the hearts of Christ’s disciples? Is it not the cross and suffering? What humbles the passionate inclinations of the flesh which so quickly and easily spread in times of well-being and prosperity, like insects in a swamp on a sunny day? What teaches you to shun this uncleanness?  Is it not the rod of misfortunes and sorrows? What arouses you from the sleep of self-assurance in which we are so easily lulled to sleep by times of earthly happiness? Or what is more conducive to lazy vegetation than cloudless, carefree days of prosperity? At such times, isn’t a storm to be welcomed? What will draw you out of the dangerous state of insensibility? Will not sorrows? Will not illness? What tears us away from our worldly attachments, the love for the world and all that is in it? Is it not necessity and misfortunes? Do not trials teach us to take life more seriously? Do not sorrows teach us to be prepared for death? Wild brambles in the heart cannot be uprooted without the pruning shears of the heavenly Gardener, and the good fruit of truth and righteousness will not grow without the rain of tears and sorrows. True obedience cannot be experienced other than by the drinking of the bitter cup of grief, when one can only say: “Not my will, but Thine be done, Father…” And submission to the will of God is never seen so clearly as in days and hours of storm, when in the midst of threatening and frightful waves the Christian gives himself totally into the hands of Him Whose very hands hold these tempests and waves – When can the steadfastness, courage and strength of a soldier of Christ be better demonstrated than’ when trials and obstacles must be turned into Christian deeds, than in the war against evil or in times of danger? All the noble strength of the Christian soul, of the Christian character, shines forth most brightly in times of distress, misfortune, and suffering. All the miracles of God’s grace are most evident in times when the waters of grief and misfortune flood our souls and we are forced to recognize our helplessness, our weakness-and surrender all our strength and understanding to Almighty God.


– From ‘The Inevitability of Suffering’