134. Why are some born into destitution and others into opulence? Why are there persons horn blind, hearing and speech-impaired or afflicted with incurable diseases, whereas others have every physical advantage imaginable? Is this an effect of chance or ofProvidence?
If it is an effect of chance, it cannot be one of Providence; if it is the effect of Providence, people might ask: where is God's goodness and justice? Clearly, it is because they do not understand the cause behind such ills that many are led to blame God. It is understandable that those who become poverty-ridden or infirm due to their imprudence or their excesses should be punished wherein they have sinned; however, if the soul is created at the same time as the body, what has it done to deserve such afflictions from birth or to be exempt from them? If we acknowledge the justice of God, we must acknowledge that these effects have a cause; if this cause does not lie in this life, it must lie in a previous one because in all things the cause must precede the effect. Hence, the soul must have lived before and it must have deserved the expiation. Spiritist studies have, in fact, shown us that more than one person born into poverty was once rich and. respected in a previous existence, but made bad use of the wealth that God enabled him or her to administer; that more than one person born into abjectness was once proud and powerful; that quite often those who commanded with harshness are submitted to the mistreatment and humiliation that they forced others to bear.
A life of pain is not always one of expiation; it is quite often a trial chosen by the spirit itself, who sees it as a way to evolve more rapidly if it bears it with courage. Wealth is also a trial more perilous than poverty due to the temptations and abuses it arouses. The examples of those who have lived also show that it is a trial from which few manage to emerge victorious.
Differences in social positions would be all the more unjust - when they do not result from our conduct in the present life - if they didn't have a means of compensation. It is the conviction of that truth, acquired through Spiritism, which gives us the strength to endure life's vicissitudes and to accept our lot without envying the lot of others.