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Difficult times can be good for you

Suffering can be good for you.

Suffering can be good for you.

A study published in the Journal Social Science and Personality Science states people who successfully journey through difficult times can end up enjoying life more than those who don’t.

Researchers from the University of British Columbia in Canada and Barcelona, Spain’s School of Management and its Universitat Pompeu Fabria surveyed 4,986 people to find out how difficult times affected them.

First they asked them if they experienced difficult times such as a death in the family or divorce. Those who said yes were then asked if they had emotionally dealt with the difficulty or was it still affecting them? 

Having sorted them into these three groups, researchers asked all participants to evaluate six different types of pleasant scenarios such as watching a waterfall or going on a hike.

Researchers discovered that people who had successfully gone through difficult times enjoyed the small pleasures of life much more than those who hadn’t experienced difficulties.  However, those who were still struggling with their trial appreciated the scenario the very least of the three groups.

Alyssa Croft a PhD candidate at the University of British Columbia said, “individuals who had dealt with more adversity in the past reported an elevated capacity for savoring.”

She added, “the present research lends some credence to the notion that bad days might make the good ones betters,” Croft said.

How many times have I heard people returning from ministering in third world countries say how happy these people were even though they have nothing. Having gone through difficult times, these people obviously appreciated everything they had much more than those of us living in comparative wealth.

Bible and difficult times

But God promises to bring good out of our trials.
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.  (Romans 8:28 NASV)  

When we read this verse, we get the impression that God will work things out for our good sometime in the future. However, in the verse all tenses are present — all things are working “now” for our good. This means in the midst of our difficulties and trial — the Holy Spirit immediately begins to work things for good.  The key is our attitude. How are we responding to these trials — do we still love God in the midst of them?

When Job suffered his trials, his wife told him to “curse God and die” (Job 2:9 NASV). But Job answered, “Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?” (v 10)  and through his trial the Bible says “Job did not sin with his lips.”

It is our attitude that wins the day.

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  1. Sandy Mc says

    The article is interesting. I think we love our personal comfort too much and we don’t value maturity enough. I have spent time with severe alcoholics and I noticed that they were surprisingly immature in some parts of their lives. I think they had a lifetime of dodging discomfort by numbing their brains, and therefore learning nothing from hard experiences. Most of us learn to cope with depressing things by hard experience, but they only had only a succession of blackouts that taught them nothing. In older age some of them needed psychiatric help.


    • Thanks for the comment Sandy. That is interesting perspective. So often we want to avoid difficulty, but there are benefits to struggles and trials.


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