Pain brings the unrepentant sinner to repentance, whereas for the righteous, it fortifies the strength of his soul and becomes a mighty wall around him so that he does not stray into sin. Just as a sick person gladly submits himself to the painful treatment of the doctor because he knows his aim, similarly we should endure with gratitude and knowledge all things that befall us involuntarily as sent from the kind hand of God for our salvation. “The athlete is tested by the stadium, the captain by the storm and tempest, the general by the battle, the magnanimous by misfortune, and the Christian by temptation,” says St. Basil the Great.
Just as the earth becomes productive when the plow tills it deeply, likewise the soul becomes fruitful in virtues when pain and illness visit it frequently and intensely! The more pain and affliction a person has, the more beautiful his crown becomes. And if there are many and various pains that oppress him, then the crown of glory is adorned with many flowers and pearls.
From the book
Councels from the Holy mountain
Selected from the letters and homilies of Elder Efraim of Arizona
Selection of passages by Silviu Podariu
The Lord crowns you through pain