Not Me! You are probably thinking that is a pretty dumb question and I can understand your sentiment. I don’t think most of us would choose to suffer, yet, in a variety of ways, we all experience suffering. But have you ever considered that suffering can make you stronger?
Two psychologists from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte have coined the term “Post Traumatic Growth.” In looking at individuals in the military who have gone through battle, capture, sexual assault, and many other horrific experiences, some individuals have been found to come out of these situations stronger and more ready to tackle the next thing life throws at them.
These findings have led to required resiliency training for every U.S. Army soldier. Results have been shown to decrease substance abuse, increase coping skills, adaptability, and character. The training has included such things as specific breathing exercises, keeping a gratitude journal, and even meditation.
Growth being produced by challenging times is not anything new. We find recorded in the in the Bible the following words: “. . . but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Romans 5:3-5
So whatever you may be going through – grief, loss due to divorce or death, financial hardship, or other serious struggles; what is God producing in you? Perseverance? Character? Hope? In the middle of the trials, there may be difficult concepts to embrace. But if you listen closely, you will find that He is working.