It’s a paradox that is hard to understand but one that I’ve discovered to be undeniably true: Struggle comes before strength. We have to be thoroughly emptied before we can be genuinely fulfilled. Somehow the mountain top experiences of life are made richer, more powerful and meaningful, only after we have walked awhile in the Valley of the Shadow of Death. In short, life requires Crucifixion before Resurrection.
So have you been brought low? To the end of yourself? Good.
Here’s what Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote in “Loss and Gain”:
When I compare
What I have lost with what I have gained,
What I have missed with what attained,
Little room do I find for pride.
I am aware
How many days have been idly spent;
How like an arrow the good intent
Has fallen short or been turned aside.
But who shall dare
To measure loss and gain in this wise?
Defeat may be victory in disguise;
The lowest ebb is the turn of the tide.