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Health and Happiness: Is it Possible to have Joy in Suffering?
Hardships can strengthen us and we can have joy, hope, and faith during the process.
By Gina Turner

Have you ever gone through a tough time with someone and grown closer to them in the long run? It’s been said, “In order to feel the worth of the anchor, we need to feel the stress of the storm.”1  Hardships can strengthen us as people and we can have joy, hope, and faith during the process.

Without the storms we wouldn’t appreciate the sunny days. Some of the world’s greatest heroes suffered, knowing many sorrows and being well-acquainted with grief. We share in suffering; we will share in glory. Just as a climbing rose uses its thorns to climb above overwhelming weeds threatening to overtake it so they can get to the sun,2 we can choose to allow pain to make us better. We will grow better and we will blossom, or we will get bitter and wither. The choice is ours.

Trials teach us to take one day at a time, trusting our Maker. They train us to persevere, building character, leading us to complete maturity. They stretch our ability to be content and joyful through pain, and pleasant with others during affliction. They stretch us and grow us, just as a butterfly must struggle on its own to get out of its cocoon so its wings will be strong enough to fly.

Why do struggles occur? Suffering can be from our own disobedience. We are living in a free society and can make our own choices. Wrong choices we make as human beings have natural consequences. If a child eats six candy bars, he or she risks a stomach ache. Our own choices affect us because of the laws of nature and the nature of relationships.

Sometimes, other peoples’ wrong choices affect us. A child wants a toy another child is playing with and hits to get it. The innocent child suffers. Our actions have a ripple effect. Ever since the earth was infected with evil, sin, and suffering, we’ve all had challenges and illnesses, and death is still a part of life.

No matter what kind of struggles we go through, people all over the world are going through similar trials or worse. Our challenges can build our empathy and compassion. We can reach out to encourage and help others, giving purpose to our own pain and suffering.

At the same time, some of our pain, agony, and anxiety can be relieved through doctors and medications, naturally and nutritionally, through healthy habits, and through prayer. Our own prayers for comfort can ease our hearts and our minds, as well as physical pain. Our fervent prayers can have great results. Even if we don’t experience an immediate answer, we can receive a peace that transcends all understanding. We can trust we are in the process of being healed—being renewed inwardly day by day.

1 Best to You Catalog. Author Unknown.

2 The Garden Primer, by Barbara Damrosch

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