Without winter there would be no spring, and without spring there would be no summer. So it is also in the spiritual life: a little consolation, and then a little grief—and thus little by little we work out our salvation. Let us accept everything from the hand of God. If He comforts us, let us thank Him. And if He doesn’t comfort us—let us thank Him.
– St. Anatoly Zertsalov, 19th Century Optina Elder
The workings of God are not like our workings. If we were to write our own fictitious tale we would remove the pain, the dark places, the agony. Every rose would be found without thorns. And, in our perspective, we would be fully justified in this picture.
Yet we are not like God. We do not want the pain, yet it is exactly this pain that molds us and defines us. It is the crucifixion of Christ that saves us. Through pain there is salvation. Through suffering there is redemption.
Yet how so very hard it is to believe this…