Struggle we may define as the act of wrestling with trial, so as to come out of it victoriously. It is a constant element in every human life. Furthermore, I am inclined to think that, taking trial as an average, the amount which enters into one life differs little from that which enters into another.

There was a time when I did not think so. Some lives struck me as singled out for trouble; others were left comparatively immune from it. One would have said that destinies had been mapped with a strange disregard for justice. Those who didn’t deserve it suffered; those who are suffering might have purified went scot-free. Some were rich, others were poor; some had high positions, others humble ones; some had the respect of the world from the day they were born, and others crept along from birth to death in restriction and obscurity. The contrasts were so cruel that they scorched the eyes of the soul.

This is true, of course; and I am not saying that in the testing to which everyone is subjected, all have an equal share of the opportunities for triumphing. I am speaking for the moment only of the degree to which the testing comes. As to that, I am inclined to feel that there is little to choose between one life and another, since each of us seems to be tried for all that he can bear.

One is impressed with that in one’s reading of biography. Only the lives of what we may call the favored few get into print, and of those few, it is chiefly the external events that are given to us. Glimpses of the inner experience may be obtained from time to time, but they are rarely more than glimpses. Of what the man or the woman has endured in the secret fastness of the inner life practically nothing can be told. And yet even with the little that finds its way into words, how much there is of desperate fighting. To this, there is never an exception. The great statesman, the great poet, the great priest, the great scientist, the great explorer, the great painter, the great novelist—not one but suffers as anyone suffers, and of not one would the reader, as a rule, put himself in the place.

I bring up this fact because we so often feel that the other man has an easier task than ourselves. The very thing I lack is that with which he is blessed. I see him smiling and debonair at the minute when I am in a ferment. While I hardly know how to make both ends meet, he is building a big house or buying a new motor car. While I am burying hope or love, he is in the full enjoyment of all that makes for happiness and prosperity.

We are always prone to contrast our darker minutes with our friends’ brighter ones. We forget, or perhaps we never know, that they do the same with us. At times, we are as much the object of their envy as they ever are of ours.

I say this not on the principle that misery loves company, but in order to do away with the heathen suspicion lingering in many minds that God singles me out for trial, heaping benefits on others who deserve them no more than I do.

God singles no one out for trial. When trials come they spring, as nearly as I can observe, from one or all of the three following sources. There are:

  • The trials which come from a world of matter;
  • The trials which come from a world of men;
  • The trials we bring on ourselves.

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