On the hard road of life, there are some who are persecuted, some who are denied, some deprived, some cheated and so are unhappy. In the midst of so much suffering, can one still be happy?
A class of Jewish students, studying the Talmud [the collection of Rabbinic writings referred in Judaism], came across a passage, which they could not understand. The passage said that in the midst of suffering, we should rejoice. “We don’t understand these words!” the students exclaimed. “How can we rejoice in the midst of suffering?” they asked the Rabbi.
The Rabbi said, “I am not qualified to answer your question. But I know of a man living in our town. He has suffered much. There is not a calamity he has not faced. He was orphaned immediately after birth, he grew up in abject poverty; he suffered a broken leg; his married daughter was sent back home by her in-laws. Despite all her suffering, he always smiles and is happy. Go and ask him how is it that one can rejoice in the midst of suffering.”
A procession of students wended their way to his home. They explained to him the reason of their visit. The man expressed surprise and said, “I don’t think you have come to the right address. For, I have never experienced suffering in my life. How can I tell you the way to rejoice in the midst of suffering?”
Here was a man who had realised that suffering was a gift of the hands of God. Once we accept suffering as a gift, it loses its sting.
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