His question: ‘Why dost thou cling fast to an existence so short and so filled with suffering? What is the meaning of thy struggle?’ The man who did not know how to answer this question would resign himself, while another, one who sought a meaning to existence, feeling that God had been unjust, would challenge his own destiny. It was at this moment that the fire of a different type descended from the heavens-not the fire that kills but the kind that tears down ancient walls and imparts to each human his true possibilities. Cowards never allow their hearts to blaze with this fire; all they desire is for the changed situation to quickly return to what it was before, so they can go on living their lives and thinking in their customary way. The brave, however, set afire that which was old and, even at the cost of great internal suffering, abandon everything, including God, and continue onward. ‘The brave are always stubborn.’ From heaven, God smiles contentedly, for it was this that He desired, that each person take into his hands the responsibility for his own life. For, in the final analysis, He had given His children the greatest of all gifts: the capacity to choose and determine their acts.
- Paulo Coelho, The Fifth Mountain