Godly products of suffering
But Paul’s trials yield for us more than this negative kind of blessing. They also teach us positive lessons to help us to endure affliction by that well-known psychological law by which we are able to identify ourselves with others and “halve our griefs while we double our joys.” It is always easier to bear what we know someone has borne successfully before us.
From the trials and triumphs of Paul, we gather, too, that happiness is really not indispensable to a Christian. There are many ills worse than heartaches. It is scarcely too much to say that prolonged happiness may actually weaken us, especially if we insist upon being happy as the Jews insisted upon flesh in the wilderness. In so doing, we may try to avoid those spiritual responsibilities which would in the nature of them bring a certain measure of heaviness and affliction to the soul.
The best thing is neither to seek nor seek to avoid troubles but to follow Christ and take the bitter with the sweet as it may come. Whether we are happy or unhappy at any given time is not important. That we be in the will of God is all that matters. We may safely leave with Him the incident of heartache or happiness. He will know how much we need of either or both.