Many normal natural things in life are seen positively by some people but resented by others. Take a rainy day, for example. Some might complain about it, while others might consider it a blessing because it waters their crops or grass. Sometimes something that one person would jump at the chance to do and be thankful for, such as moving to a new location, another person could hate and resent having to do. Anything can become a source of bitterness, even things that aren’t actually bad in themselves or that someone else might even consider good. It often depends on how you take events or circumstances.

On the other hand, there are some things which we would all agree are not good or desirable in the natural sense: an illness, a car accident, a house burning down, etc. If you have a physical disability, that is something that may well have caused you a lot of pain or distress. It’s not your imagination, and it’d be very natural to feel negatively about it. Yet even our physical limitations can be turned into steppingstones to a better life; like rungs of a ladder, they can help us climb higher than we would otherwise.

Each of us has something in our life that could seriously hinder us if we allowed it to get us down. But the wonderful thing is that God has made a way for us to overcome those things. In fact, He intends for us to do so. Because His help is always available, circumstances do not have to dictate our behavior.

Look at all the men and women throughout history who rose above seemingly insurmountable odds to do great things. They had to fight harder to overcome those obstacles, but in so doing they became stronger. Instead of lamenting that life had given them a “lemon,” a bad deal, they made lemonade out of their lemons. Because of their supposed handicaps, they rose to greater heights than they would have otherwise.

Beethoven was stone deaf when he composed some of the most beautiful music ever written, and Thomas Edison was deaf when he invented the phonograph. Alexander the Great is said to have had a neck or back deformity. The Greek poet Homer was blind. Renoir painted some of his finest masterpieces when his fingers were so twisted by rheumatism that his artist’s brush had to be strapped to his hand. Handel’s right side was paralyzed when he composed his greatest work, “The Hallelujah Chorus!”

Often people who have overcome difficulties are in turn able to help others to have the courage and faith to overcome theirs. Their personal examples demonstrate that it is possible to rise above seemingly impossible situations.

If Helen Keller hadn’t been blind and deaf from infancy, she never would have had the opportunity to become the inspiration that she was and continues to be to millions, and she never could have said, “I thank God for my handicaps, for through them I have found myself, my work, and my God.”

Booker T. Washington was born a slave and worked in a salt factory and as a house boy for a coal mine owner to support his family before becoming an educator, a spokesman for African American causes, and founder of a college for young African Americans.

There are advantages to be discovered in our problems and difficulties! If we didn’t have any, we might grow complacent and meander along casually, not building the strength of character that comes from overcoming adversity. The beauty that often results from suffering might not have a chance to blossom in our lives. We might not appreciate our loved ones as much, or find true friends in those who come to our side in times of need. We might not have as much understanding or compassion for others who are going through the same things, or know how to help them.

Sometimes God uses troubles to help us to look to Him. He also uses our trials and difficulties to teach us patience and mercy, and to help us not be judgmental of others, among other things. If we never had any trials, we wouldn’t need to look for strength in God. We also wouldn’t experience the thrill of discovering that He will always come through for us!