“In temptations and trials the progress of a man is measured; in them opportunity for merit and virtue is made more manifest.”
— Thomas à Kempis (1380–1471)
Purpose is the point to life; existence has all its meaning in purpose.
Behind the purpose of life itself, the very thing that brings to us inherent satisfaction, is character growth – the outcome of a great quest requiring emotional strength and true spiritual grit. Paradoxically, both are hatched in accessing the truth of life via the agency of weaknesses admitted consciously and then worked with.
Harrowing is this truth: tests, temptations, and trials are the making of life.
But that statement I just made, when it’s unqualified, is an insult to many who are currently doing life tough. But it is still the truth. And the key is a step-by-step acceptance, in the mode of gritty courage, which ultimately sees us through to the growth we are compensated with.
Growth is compensation for loss where grief has robbed us of what we dearly valued.
Compensation for our losses, in the form of growth, so we have tangible benefit out of the grief, even though we can only think of survival at the time of our grieving, is what we get – when we respond as faithfully as we can.
Tests, Temptations, and Trials
This is all relevant to the tests we see and respond to and pass, to the temptations we resist and overcome, and to the trials we patiently endure.
Tests are inter-relational situations requiring wisdom. Temptations hone in on our weaknesses in the flesh and they require great resolve. Trials are those times we experience in life where we are dropped into hell and they require patient endurance and the ability to grasp a new life, even life within the pain.
Tests, temptations, and trials all involve grief, though it’s only trials that obviously involve grief. But tests involve grief when we fail them, as well as grief for turning against the way we would prefer to go. And temptations, whether we fall for them or not, involve grief; either it’s sacrifice to sustain our resolve or it’s the lament for falling into temptation yet again.
Triumphing over tests, temptations, and trials is the key to growth, which is the compensation we get for the pain we have endured. Triumphing over these things is the purpose of life. Given that life is riddled with tests, temptations, and trials it’s crucial that we realise that faith to triumph is the key to living a happy life.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.