THE HIGH CALLING OF SUFFERING
To George Romaine, on his blindness.
I hear sad news of you. You have passed under the sorest trial
that perhaps could have been laid on your courage, your hopefulness, your peace.
I trust indeed that there is much to look for yet of recovered power and renewed work, but for the moment there must be anxiety, the bitter strain of disappointment and the rough curb of pain. You are assured of the deep sympathy of many warm-hearted friends to whom you have always shown most generous kindness, and I venture to rank myself among them. We shall remember you often and anxiously. It is a tremendous moment when first one is called on to join the great army of those who suffer.
That vast world of love and pain opens suddenly to admit us one by one within its fortress.
We are afraid to enter into the land; yet you will, I know, feel how high is the call. It is as a trumpet speaking to us that cries aloud, “It is your turn! Endure! Play your part! as they endured before you, so now close up the ranks! Be patient and strong as they were!”
With Christ, this world of pain is no accident untoward or sinister, but a lawful department of life with experiences, interests, adventures, hopes, delights, secrets of its own. These are all thrown open to us as we press within the gatesÂ—things we could never learn or know or see so long as we were well.
God help you to walk through this world now opened to you as through a Kingdom, regal and wide, and glorious.
An extract from a letter by Henry Scott Holland.