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Among the most difficult questions for religions to resolve is “the problem of evil.” We have a deep yearning for fairness and justice and an equally deep aversion to pain and suffering. Oftentimes, prophets or even gods are said to have endured great amounts of suffering, just like us. But they assure us that suffering can be mitigated or even abolished altogether. In the meantime, they advise us to enlarge our sense of perspective to see that what appears to be evil or suffering may eventually prove to be a blessing in disguise. We may suffer very deeply in the present, but we often look back and see that those moments of suffering were the very catalysts we needed in order to grow and learn and develop into who we are today.

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Quotations

The New Testament
Christian scripture
Christianity

"Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us."

The New Testament
Christian scripture
Christianity

"Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised tothose who love him."

The New Testament
Christian scripture
Christianity

"And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple."

The Qur'an
Islamic scripture
Islam

"Every soul is certain to taste death: We test you all through the bad and the good, and to Us you will all return."

The Hebrew Bible
Jewish scripture
Judaism

“ 'Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.' In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing."

Sefer Ha-Aggadah
Collection of Jewish writings
Judaism

"A man is required to bless God for evil, even as he is to bless Him for good[...]no matter what judgment He decrees for you, whether a measure of prosperity or a measure of suffering."

‘Abdu’l-Bahá
Baha'i leader
Baha'i

"If we suffer it is the outcome of material things, and all the trials and troubles come from this world of illusion."

Shoghi Effendi
Baha'i leader
Baha'i

“As we suffer these misfortunes we must remember that the Prophets of God Themselves were not immune from these things which men suffer. They knew sorrow, illness and pain too. They rose above these things through Their spirits, and that is what we must try and do too, when afflicted."

Shoghi Effendi
Baha'i leader
Baha'i

"Although you suffer, you will gain a maturity that will enable you to be of greater help to both your fellow Bahá’ís and your children."

The Puranas
Hindu scripture
Hinduism

 “There are many sufferings in birth, and many that come right after birth; and there are many that he encounters in childhood, inflicted by elemental factors and so forth. Covered over by the darkness of ignorance, a man’s heart becomes stupefied."

The Puranas
Hindu scripture
Hinduism

“Now the Lord resolved to demonstrate that Maran was capable of pursuing such a course not only while his prosperity lasted, but also if he were to fall on hard times. Accordingly he planned that Maran’s wealth should gradually diminish until it had all evaporated and he had been reduced to poverty. However, although his circumstances were thus straitened, the generosity of the lord of Ilaiyankuti was not straitened in the slightest. On the contrary, he sold his possessions and took out crippling loans, which enabled him to persevere in his sacred service as before."

The Dhammapada
Buddhist scripture
Buddhism

“Our life is shaped by our mind; we become what we think. Suffering follows an evil thought as the wheels of a cart follow the oxen that draw it."

Thich Nhat Hanh
Buddhist monk and author
Buddhism

"The ocean of suffering is immense, but if you turn around, you can see the land. The seed of suffering in you may be strong, but don' t wait until you have no more suffering before allowing yourself to be happy. When one tree in the garden is sick, you have to care for it. But don't overlook all the healthy trees. Even while you have pain in your heart, you can enjoy the many wonders of life--the beautiful sunset, the smile of a child, the many flowers and trees. To suffer is not enough. Please don't be imprisoned by your suffering."

Confucius
Founder of Confucianism
Confucianism

"The benevolent man reaps the benefit only after overcoming difficulties."

Aldous Huxley
British-American writer
Art & Literature

“Two thirds of all sorrow is homemade and, so far as the universe is concerned, unnecessary."