Believe it or not, pain can be a gift.
A terrible gift, to be sure; but a gift nevertheless.
Now it is the sufferer’s task to unravel the mystery of how her pain can be a gift. And if she is not able to do so, to commit herself to the Lord who makes all things beautiful in His time.
Sometimes the Lord sends suffering in order to cure an inward corruption.
The sorrow that suffering produces serves as medicine to dissolve the rage or pride or some other wickedness that dwells in the hardened heart.
It softens the heart and produces compassion within.
In God’s hands suffering is the chisel by which he carves a beautiful saint out of plain marble.
We often blame God for our sufferings, not knowing that by means of the pain he is actually healing our souls and creating a work of art.
It is only from one’s unique history of suffering that one can define accurately one’s own calling. Only from a particular history of special anguish and personal travail can one come to know how God is calling one to be present to the suffering world even as God the Son has become present to it.
— Thomas C. Oden, The Rebirth of Orthodoxy, p. 94