J.R. Macduff goes right to the center of suffering in this short piece about ‘the test’.
I once visited the testing room of a large steel mill. I was surrounded by instruments and equipment that tested pieces of steel to their limits and measured their breaking point. Some pieces had been twisted until they broke, and then were labeled with the level of pressure they could withstand. Some had been stretched to their breaking point, with their level of strength also noted.
Others had been compressed to their crushing point and measured. Because of the testing, the manager of the mill knew exactly how much stress and strain each piece of steel could endure if it was used to build a ship, building, or bridge.
It is often much the same with us. Are we meant to be fragile vases of glass or porcelain? Is our journey on this earth meant to prepare our soul for strength or for weakness? Is it possible that we are meant to be formed like the pieces of steel, to endure the twisting and crushing pressure without collapse?
In our earthly purpose we are not meant to be like greenhouse plants. Each person has a different experience and a different path. Our growth does not come from being sheltered from rough weather, but to be challenged like storm-beaten oaks. There cannot be growth if we are like sand dunes that are driven back and forth by every gust. We are given the opportunity to become like granite mountains that withstand the fiercest storms. Yet, to accomplish this, we must have faith. Faith that we are being tested, through suffering. And many of us need no other argument than our own experiences to prove that suffering is indeed the greatest test of faith.
It is quite easy for us to talk and to theorize about faith, but we are often put into a crucible of affliction to test our gold and to separate the dross from the metal. It is better to weather the storm with faith than to sail smooth waters without it. - by J.R. Macduff
The death of a child thrusts us into the worst storm imaginable. This loss threatens to sink the ship of most parents. Reaching out in faith, discovering a new or renewed faith, all offer harbors to help us find a way to travel forward. Though Macduff spoke about steel throughout his piece, I like the ‘ship’ analogy at the end.. I have often chosen quotes for ’A New Journey’ that refer to my daughter's ship as sailing before mine. That beloved ship has traveled far beyond my sight, beyond the horizon. How gut wrenchingly painful. I have faith that she waits for me. Someday my ship will sail too.
Why Does A Young Person Have To Die?- Questions and answers
The Day The Music Died - Discussion of the difficulty of returning to previous joys.
Rock On? - Being pummelled...
The Tenderhearted Friend -The blessing of having people in your life who care.
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