"Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved."
- Helen Keller
We all go through trials and sufferings that could be used to build character, but I think the response you have to those trials is what determines whether you take full advantage of the opportunity. You can decide if you will struggle against it and let it turn you bitter, or if you will humbly submit and let it produce more of the sweetness of Christ in your spirit.
I am afraid I tend much more towards bitterness in my trials. This is very silly because my trials are not large or overwhelming. I live in America and my trials are certainly not worth comparing to the suffering and torment of Christians in other countries, where they may be persecuted, imprisoned and tortured for their faith. As of yet, my freedom has not been taken away, but America isn't completely free of persecution, and I know it will continue to get worse in the future. If I'm so incompliant in trivial struggles, how will I respond to the greater persecution that is certainly coming?
“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
Do you rejoice in your sufferings? It's certainly not natural to our flesh to rejoice in our pain and discomfort, however, remember that we are not rejoicing because of the suffering itself, but because of what the suffering produces. Suffering gives us endurance, endurance builds character, character gives us hope - and what a wonderful thing is hope! - and our hope will not disappoint us because our hope is in the Lord! His love has been poured into our hearts (I love the picture that gives me, of my empty, sad heart being filled to overflowing with His awesome love!) and the Holy Spirit inhabits us.
"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us."- Romans 8:18
Next time I have an opportunity to suffer and build endurance, character and hope, I want to keep my heart from bitterness and grumbling, and welcome the trial with meekness. My flesh might feel that the pain is unendurable, and I know I won't be able to rely on my own strength, but through Christ's strength, I will endure patiently.
'But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.'
-2 Corinthians 12:9-10