Love Transcends All Pain
One day, when Bayazid of Bistam was walking along the market place of Baghdad, he saw a criminal being whipped by the authorities for a crime he had committed. His back was scarred and he was bleeding excessively as a result. However, what surprised Bayazid was the expression on this criminal’s face. There was no fear, no pain; instead he had a smile and his eyes were shining. After his punishment was over, and once the crowd had dispersed, Bayazid took care of the man and covered his wounds.
Bayazid then asked the man, “I watched you – you were not even aware of the pain you were going through. Tell me, what is your secret that you did not even shed a tear during this most painful ordeal?”
The man replied, “I am in love with a beautiful woman. Over the past year, I have tried to win her love but not once did she look my way. Today, as I was being whipped, I saw my beloved. Seeing my state, she had tears in her eyes! For those tears, I would undergo the same punishment a hundred times over.”
Bayazid told his disciples, “This is the way that we must love God. If our attention is focused on our Beloved, then we can surpass any worldly suffering.”
Love sweetens pains; and when one loves God,
one suffers for His sake with joy and courage.
Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God