There are two kinds of affliction in this life; one is essential, the other non-essential. Or let us say that one is our portion, deliberately given to us for our own good, the other is accidental, produced by a combination of circumstances….
But the second kind of suffering, the form that chastens us, forges in the furnace of ordeal the bright sword of our soul, cannot and should not be eliminated. We must recognize that under duress, great things are born. Diamonds form in molten rock. The sweetest flowers of man’s spirit have often been watered by tears. To struggle gives strength, to endure breeds a greater capacity for endurance. We must not run away from our heartbreaks in life; we must go through them, however fiery they may be, and bring with us out of the fire a stronger character, a deeper reliance on ourselves and on the Creator Who, like a good Parent, chastises us because He loves us and because He knows what can be made out of us and that the pain is worth the prize that can be won.
This is indeed a power world. Great forces are at play – the sun, the wind, the rain, night and day – they are big things and do great things in nature. Electricity, gravitation, are strong forces that forge the earth, with all it’s beauty, its life, its growth. We human beings are subjected to strong forces too. Love, hate, passion, fear, sorrow, pain – they act on us and spur us on, they develop our qualities and give us colour and individuality. Why should we want to shun and abolish some of the factors that bring out the best in us, that temper our steel, that teach us to value happiness at its true worth? Can a man who has never been hungry in all his life know what a piece of bread means, savor all its sweetness, as can a man who has starved? If we must go through life denying the existence of pain and suffering, or refusing to experience their keenness because we pad ourselves with foolish mental attitudes or psychological opiates, we shall grow to be a race lacking depth, lacking sensitivity, devoid of strong moral fibre. The blades of our souls will become dull.
(Ruhiyyih Rabbani, Prescription for Living, pg. 131)