The fastest beast that will carry you to perfection is suffering.
Meister Eckhart

We don’t master the overwhelming reality of suffering by a facile assertion that it is god’s will.  True, all that happens in the world is in some way under God’s will .  But the painful reality of  evil and suffering in the world will always remain hidden in the incomprehensible mystery that is God.   The way God chose to save us is a supreme example of the mystery of suffering.  Who would have imagined that God would come to us in the person of Jesus Christ; that our salvation would be accomplished through his suffering and death?

Jesus presented his followers with a number of serious challenges.
One of the strongest is related by all three of the synoptic gospels. In Matthew and Mark we read: “If anyone wants to be a follower of mine,
let him renounce himself and take up his cross and follow me.”
(Matthew 16: 24; Mark: 8: 34)   Luke (9: 23) adds a qualification:  “let him take up his cross every day.” That shifts the emphasis from martyrdom in the traditional sense to sacrificial living, to a life-long dying  in the ordinary way of difficult service in everyday trials.

The problem is it is never easy to recognize the value of suffering.  Some-thing painful is hard enough to accept; seeing it as having some positive value is almost too much.  And there is a special difficulty.  It is almost always the case that the trials which are of most value to the soul are those which seem to be doing the least good.

Yet it precisely that trial a provident God has permitted to beset me.  It is for my growth, my sanctification.  Some one put it this way: “If you choose to shoulder a cross and find that it is not heavy, put it down.  You have picked up someone elses.”

Reflecting on the cross reminds us of the essential connection between human suffering and the redemptive suffering of Jesus.  In a mysterious way God chose to link our redemption to suffering.  Our salvation depends on suffering, ultimately the suffering and death of Jesus but in a true sense also on our suffering.  By uniting our will to God’s will we come to share in God’s own life through grace.  That involves dying to the life of the purely natural human being.  That is not accomplished without suffering.