I have spoken with many people who have gone through a trial in their lives, only to say, “It was good for me that I was afflicted” (Psalm 119:71). By this, they mean that the difficulty that they faced was the very thing that God used to work a blessing in their life. The accident brought them to the end of themselves and they came to Christ. Or, the illness forced them to depend upon others, which made them realize the value of their friendships. Or, the family hardship they endured taught them much about the sustaining grace of God.
In this way, trials are often like alarm clocks. They wake us up to the greater realities of life and give us great wisdom (James 1:2-5). So, why do we often wait for God to wake us up with the difficulties of life? Why not search our hearts and learn these things before the alarm sounds?