That Happiness Is Latent in Every Form of Trouble
and Suffering [excerpt]
Ages ago, Plato said
that suffering was a midwife. In his “Republic,” the great Greek
recognized this law when he said that no man was fitted to rule
who had not learned how to understand men through his own sorrows.
How wise a word was that! Rulers young and untaught and pleasure-loving
have generally plunged their people into wars, riots, and revolutions.
On the other hand, the great achievements for the millions through
liberty have been ushered in by kings and presidents who through
personal experience have learned sympathy with their fellows. We
conclude, therefore, that trouble comes with a divine commission;
that sorrows do not riot through life; that men are not atoms buffeted
hither and thither. That accepted and rightly used, sorrows change
their nature and become joy.
This principle becomes the clearer
when we think of the sudden striking down of President McKinley.
In that hour many minds were confused and bewildered. Men said,
“How can there be an overruling God? If One there is, why did He
permit such an event? What had the great President done to deserve
such  an end? How faithful
was he as ruler, how true a friend! What fidelity to his home!”
Men said, “It is a world of trouble, confusion, and mystery.” Plainly
man was not made for happiness. Yet, now that a little time has
passed, wise men see that a deeper joy and happiness were latent
in the suffering and sorrow. As for Lincoln, so for McKinley—the
hour of supreme good fortune was the hour of martyrdom. In his life
he was admired by one political party. But suffering opened the
gates of sympathy, and the South, during his dying days, opened
his pages, read the president’s addresses, and came to understand
his mission and message. When he died, all the shops were closed,
all wheels stood still—the whole nation assembled at the same hour,
to recall his dying words, to sing his best-loved hymns, to listen
to his incitements unto patriotism, to swear fidelity to God, home,
and native land. Through those events, as in no other way, his life,
teachings, and character were stamped forever upon the children
and youth of the nation. An opportunity, a degree of influence,
that joy and success could not give, came through suffering and
sorrow. Could the great President return, he would tell us that
a man could well die a thousand deaths for one such day of commemoration.
Never do the wings of God brood man so closely as in the hour when
the Angel of Sor-  row comes
to lend the crown of suffering and martyrdom.