As a child of God, my attitude toward sorrow and difficulty shouldn’t be one of wishing they didn’t exist, nor of asking God to prevent them. I should be asking that, in every fire of sorrow, I receive the self God created me to be. Our Lord wasn’t saved from the hour, but out of it. He received himself in the fires of sorrow, fulfilling the purpose God had ordained for him.

We say that there shouldn’t be any sorrow, but there is sorrow. If we try to avoid it, if we refuse to take it into account, we are being foolish. Sorrow is one of the biggest facts of life; it’s no use saying that it shouldn’t exist. Sin and sorrow and suffering are. It isn’t for us to say that God has made a mistake in allowing them.

Sorrow burns up a great amount of our shallowness, but it doesn’t always make us better. Suffering either gives us to ourselves or destroys us. We can’t find ourselves in success; success makes us lose our heads. We can’t find ourselves in times of calm and monotony; they make us bored. The only way we can receive ourselves is in the fires of sorrow. This is true in both Scripture and human experience.

Have I received my self—the self God created me to be—in the fires of sorrow? It’s always easy to identify people who have. They are the people you know you can trust, the people you turn to in moments of trouble and find that they have plenty of time for you. Those who haven’t received themselves are likely to be irritated and contemptuous when you ask for their help; they have no time for you and your troubles. Only those who have received themselves are able to give with open hearts.

Receive yourself in the fires of sorrow, and God will make you nourishment for others.

Wisdom from Oswald

The root of faith is the knowledge of a Person, and one of the biggest snares is the idea that God is sure to lead us to success. My Utmost for His Highest, March 19, 761 L