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Making Sense of Suffering.

Suffering is an indication of another Kingdom which we look to. If being Christian meant being “happy” in this life, we wouldn’t need the Kingdom of Heaven.

Pain of heart is the condition for spiritual growth and the manifestation of God’s power. Healings, etc., occur to those in desperation, hearts pained but still trusting and hoping in God’s help. This is when God acts. The absence of miracles today (almost) indicates lack of this pain of heart in man and even most Orthodox Christians—bound up with the ‘growing cold’ of hearts in the last times.

In 1973, after Vladimir and Sylvia Anderson’s daughter Maggie died and was buried on Noble Ridge in Platina, California at (St. Herman of Alaska Monastery), Fr. Seraphim wrote these words to the grieving parents:

"...The aching thoughts of Maggie are natural—but that’s the side that belongs to earth. Her soul is with God, and the trial which you underwent with her was God’s visitation to you, and the proof that in everything that has been happening there is something deeper than human logic and feelings can fathom...

...some people seem to have an 'easy' and uncomplicated path in life—or so it seems from outside; while for others like you everything seems complicated and difficult. Don’t let that bother you. Actually, from the spiritual point of view, those who really have an 'easy' time are probably in danger — precisely because without the element of suffering through whatever God sends, there is no spiritual profit or advancement. God knows each of us better than we know ourselves, and He sends what is needful for us, whatever we may think!

Maggie’s grave is a source of great joy for us. On the Tuesday after Pascha week, when the departed are commemorated again for the first time, we went there and sang, mingling the funeral hymns with Paschal hymns, then breaking and eating eggs, symbols of the Resurrection, over the grave.

Truly, the living and the dead are one in Christ, and it’s only our blindness that makes us sometimes forget it!

Glory to Thee our God.

+ Glory to Thee for All Things! +

+ Fr. Seraphim (Rose)

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