I look at the trials I have born over the years. Some hurt terribly to begin with and have been slow to heal. Some have been a constant simmer of unpleasantness that have occasionally boiled over. Some scorched my soul and made me feel hollow for months on end.

As I look at these experiences in my rearview mirror, especially at the trials that happened years ago, I see how much I’ve gained from them: the patience, the faith in God, the compassion, the humility. But I wonder if I had to do it all again, would I? If there were some sort of magic time machine allowing me to go back and change the events that happened, would I take advantage of it?

Of course it’s always pain and anguish that are the great teachers. I can’t say I’ve learned a lot from being spoiled on my birthday or lying around the pool in Hawaii. Would I do over the things that have made me who I am? These hard things? These painful things? Would I choose them again?

I think I might. Maybe because I’ve gotten older and I have come to know that life will deal us hardships no matter what; it’s mostly just the flavor of hardships that change from person to person. I think I can say about many sad things that have happened to me that, yes, I am glad they happened.

The fresher trials don’t have the sweet sheen of nostalgia, though. The things that I’m struggling with now and have recently endured still have black hatred scribbled all over them. I think to myself, “I hate this! I wouldn’t wish it on anybody!” I pray for relief. I try to retrace my steps and see where I could have changed my path to make my outcome less like it is today.

But the message is finally hitting me that one day I might very well look at these nasty things I’m currently dealing with and think, “Wow! What a blessing that ended up to be!” I don’t know that I’ll ever be glad that some things happened the way that they did. I am hopeful, however, that one day I won’t be as absorbed with the notion of winding back the clock.

Do you embrace your trials? Feel gratitude for them? Or just wished that they never happened? Do you find that the passage of time helps with our view of trials?

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