Man’s life is a martyrdom. Ever since we fell from true happiness we gather the fruit of disobedience: “Thorns and thistles will the earth bring forth to you” (Gen. 3:18 ) –the earth of the heart will, too. How will we know that we are exiles, if not through afflictions and torments? There is no person who does not have something that afflicts him. Pious Christians are afflicted, too, but in the depths of their souls they also have the hope that one day the many afflictions will result in blessed repose for them. Without afflictions and sufferings let no one expect repose in the life beyond the grave. That life is for those who have labored and were heavy-laden by the weight of this present life. Of course, the saints had much grace and spiritual strength, and they rejoiced in suffering. But we, and I first of all, suffer and sometimes our patience breaks. But glory be to God, Who enlightens us to repent and correct ourselves. “The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Mt. 26:41 ).
Elder Ephraim of Arizona