Advantages of Difficult Times

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I got this list from “Where is God When it Hurts” by Phillip Yancey. He quotes Monica Hellwig with 10 advantages that difficulties have in our life, that we would NEVER be able to attain otherwise.

In his book, Yancey argues that the question we must ask of God in difficult times is not “why?” but rather “to what end?”. We may never know why certain things happen; however, we can know what that difficulty is accomplishing in us and in our surrounding world. In the list the word “suffering” is used; however, if that word rubs you the wrong way, you can insert “difficulty” or “trials” in there, it accomplishes the same goal.

Here’s a list of 10 answers to the second question. To what end/what are these difficulties accomplishing in my life:

1. Suffering, the great equalizer, brings us to a point where we may realize our urgent need for redemption.
2. Those who suffer know not only their dependence on God and on healthy people but also their interdependence with one another.
3. Those who suffer rest their security not on things, which often cannot be enjoyed and may soon be taken away, but rather on people.
4. Those who suffer have no exaggerated sense of their own importance, and no exaggerated need of privacy. Suffering humbles the proud.
5. Those who suffer expect little from competition and much from cooperation.
6. Suffering helps us distinguish between necessities and luxuries.
7. Suffering teaches patience, often a kind of dogged patience born of acknowledged dependence.
8. Suffering teaches the difference between valid fears and exaggerated fears.
9. To suffering people, the gospel sounds like good news and not like a threat or a scolding. It offers hope and comfort.
10. Those who suffer can respond to the call of the gospel with a certain abandonment and uncomplicated totality because they have so little to lose and are ready for anything.

What do you think?

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2 Responses to “Advantages of Difficult Times”

  1. GRice says:

    This list is quite compelling – I would add to it a point that you made in earlier posts: suffering teaches that when God is all you have, God is all you need!

  2. Beverly says:

    Advantage of Difficult Times, remind me of when our Lord Jesus Christ was crucified on the cross, because our Father God knew we need a Saviour who left us the comforter in our difficult times. When we suffer sometimes, it let those who do not believe see the Glory of GOd working in our lives as never before.

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