“From suffering comes wisdom”

From Aeschylus:

Day by day
Bit by bit
Pain drips upon the heart
As against our will
And even in our own despite
Comes wisdom
From the awful grace of the gods.

Whatever the reason, for us as we are now, creation involves suffering, and the greatest creativity involves the greatest suffering. the greatest beauty comes from the greatest suffering. Tragedy is our highest literary form. Sad music is the most beautiful music.

Not everyone creates an external work of art, like a painting or a book, but everyone creates an internal work of art, a life, a real-life story. Everyone also creates a character, a person: themselves. God gives us only the raw material; by our choices we shape it into who we are…. And since everyone is an artist and artists must suffer, therefore everyone must suffer. Saints suffer most because they are the greatest artists of all.

But though ontologically we are very good, morally we are not. We are sinners. Our world is a battlefield strewn with broken treaties, broken families, broken promises, broken lives, and broken hearts. We are good stuff gone bad, a defaced masterpiece, a rebellious child. “We are not merely imperfect creatures who need to grow, we are rebels who need to lay down our arms” (CS Lewis).

Suffering fills the need to continually remind us of the most obvious and evident truth there is, yet the one we are the most constantly forgetting in practice: that we are not God.

Blessedness leads us indeed to luxury, pride, and disaster; in short we are all morally and spiritually insane, fractured to our very core. That core, that heart, is our relationship to God, as a characters’s essence is his relationship to his author, who alone holds the secret of his identity.

In fact, what we call the wrath of God is really the love of God as experienced by a fool. The wrath of God is the form the love of God takes when we fight it, just as darkness is the form light takes when we turn from it and run into our own shadow.

– Peter Kreeft, Making Sense Out of Suffering