Is there anything good about tough times? Like most people, I have felt shock and dismay at recent events. The news is flooded with stories about abuse, violence, murder, unemployment, financial ruin and a myriad of other adverse subjects. Perhaps it's time to talk about the positive uses of adversity which was touched on in last week’s blog, Overcoming Adversity.

Although it has been heard before, bad things sometimes happen to good people. While it is impossible to always understand why this happens, one thing remains. No matter how bad things seem at the time, some good can come from every negative situation.

No matter how hard we try or even think we can, we cannot possibly control everything that happens to us in life. Adversity is a fact of life. There are many factors outside one’s control; however, the only thing we can control is how we react to what happens. In the long run, it is our response that matters most.

When we are forced to navigate the rough waters of adversity, we have an opportunity to develop aspects of our character that sailing through good times doesn't give.

In 1984 Robert H. Schuller wrote the very popular book, "Tough Times Don't Last, Tough People Do!" In it he stressed that if you can name your problem you could also name your possibilities to the solution.  We need to understand tough times make tough people. They avoid wallowing in hopelessness and helplessness behaviors.  They keep going, rolling with the punches when others give up and quit. People aren't born knowing how to do these things.

People learned to use adversity to their advantage, even though they may not have known exactly what they were doing at the time. They learned to turn their negative into a positive.  They learned that no matter how tough times were, they had the potential to achieve the best of life.

So, if times are tough for you right now, hang in there. Remain focused on what you can control which is your response. After you've made it through to the other side, it is very possible you will discover a depth of character you never knew you had. Remember that the difference between stumbling blocks and stepping stones is how you use them!

Think about it.