MIDWAY: Battling hardship

Common wisdom says that man cannot escape some sort of suffering. Now, in my 30’s, I have come to accept that suffering never leaves a man until he dies. But, I have found, this suffering has a deep meaning.

Everything happens for a purpose. The trials and tribulations we face give us strength, maturity and perfection. If we are not tested, we would hardly learn anything. The real value of gold remains unknown until it goes through the trial of fire. These tests are of two kinds: One is God-sent for our own growth. The other is the result of our ignorance and foolishness. The trick is to discern which is which. But if we look deep within, we’ll find an answer. In a way, if the problem is of our own devising, it is our brainchild; if it is beyond our control, it is God’s will.

The difficulties in our lives have us living on razor’s edge. When handled carefully, we move forward, becoming stronger and wiser. We grow. When we allow problems overwhelm us and make us lose our mental balance and fortitude, we’ll always be mired in one trouble after another and our life will become miserable till we breathe our last, however rich we may happen to be. Since misfortunes or accidents can strike anybody — rich or poor, educated or illiterate, intelligent or ignorant — to make our lives worth living, we should find inspiration from within. How you take it is what makes all the difference.

As a youth, I wished that no misfortune would visit me. I tried to avoid trouble as much as I could. I wished that parents wouldn’t scold me and teachers wouldn’t give homework. I now realise how much these tests have helped my personal growth. Back then, of course, I found them boring, difficult and unnecessary. But, indeed, they were blessings in disguise.

The lives of successful people bear witness that success doesn’t come easy. Many had to pay the ultimate price for their achievements. We can’t avoid problems. But problems help us realise the purpose of our lives.

God created us so that we could live full and enriching lives. Life offers limited opportunities but when it presents us with one, we should pounce on it and make hay while the sun shines. The art of living cannot be mastered without learning to get over hardships.