Here's a wonderful quote I read today from Charles Spurgeon, from his booklet, "The Prayer of Jabez":
"We know very little about Jabez, except that he was more honorable than his brothers, and that he was called Jabez because his mother bore him with sorrow. It will sometimes happen that where there is the most sorrow in the antecedents, there will be the most pleasure in the sequel. As the furious storm gives place to the clear sunshine, so the night of weeping precedes the morning of joy. Sorrow the harbinger; gladness the prince it ushers in. Cowper says: 'The path of sorrow, and that path alone, / Leads to the place where sorrow is unknown.'
"To a great extent we find that we must sow in tears before we can reap in joy. Many of our works for Christ have cost us tears. Difficulties and disappointments have wrung our soul with anguish. Yet those projects that have cost us more than ordinary sorrow, have often turned out to be the most honorable of our undertakings. You may expect a blessing in serving God if you are enabled to persevere under many discouragements."
What an encouragement! And Charles Spurgeon certainly knew what he was talking about; perhaps no pastor experienced more inner pain than he. That final sentence especially rings of God's truth. How many times in Scripture are we told that our sufferings for Christ's sake will be the means of our sanctification and blessing? And how often we doubt it!