The past 18 to 24 months have been a challenge to the human psyche, possibly like none other in recorded history. The scope has not been localized, but global in its reach; the suffering of illness and the pain of loss acutely felt. There were days, early on, when it was difficult to believe the situation would change for the better. We could classify it as “bad times.”
So the question becomes, “Is there anything good about bad times?” It is difficult to look at the massive destruction in the wake of earthquakes, mudslides, typhoon and hurricanes, not to mention the 4.5 million-plus deaths from Covid-19, from around the world. At times, the devastation is almost unimaginable. Finding anything good is nearly as unimaginable. Perhaps it is time to talk about the positive uses of adversity.
Bad things sometimes happen to good people, and while it is impossible to always understand why that may be, one thing is clear: No matter who you are and how bad things seem at the time, some good can come from every bad situation. Yes, every bad situation.
You know, no matter how hard we try, we can’t possibly control everything that happens to us in life. About the only things we can control are our responses to what happens. And in the long run, it is our response that matters most.
When we are forced to navigate the rough waters of adversity, we have an opportunity to develop aspects of our character that a smooth sail through good times just cannot give us.
Some time ago, the title of an immensely popular book was, “Tough Times Never Last, But Tough People Do” (by Robert H. Schuller and still available). We need to understand that going through tough times is how tough people get that way. They avoid hopelessness and helplessness; they keep going when others give up and quit; and they roll with the punches. What we want to remember is that these folks were not born knowing how to do these things.
Tough people have learned to use adversity to their advantage, even though they may not have known exactly what they were doing at the time. So, if times are tough for you right now, hang in there. After you’ve made it through to the other side, it is entirely possible that you’ll discover a depth of character you never realized you had.