So a couple weeks ago I was riding in my car listing to Mercy Me on the CD player, and Bring the Rain came on. I like the song, so I was singing along and heard/sang "...if that's what it takes to praise You, Jesus bring the rain."
Ack! No. Jesus bring the sunshine.
Suffering is NOT the defining characteristic of Christianity, no matter what your Catholic aunt might have told you. God is just as likely, if not way more likely to provide us with gifts beyond our ability to ask for, as He is to call us to do something difficult that will cause us to suffer.
A well lived, joy and peace filled life can bring glory to God too. All too often we are much more likely to be ready to suffer for His sake than we are ready to enjoy the banquet of His victory. The King, our Lord, loves us beyond our comprehension. He shares with us the fruits of His creation, most of us are blessed with food, shelter, entertainment, friends, and nature.
Yes, we need to be taught, many times the situations in which we suffer and have "opportunities for growth" are of our own making. The times in my life over the last ten years that I know I have been tested and taught directly by God, have been few, but very difficult failures, I know what it is like to weep bitterly like Peter did at the crowing of the rooster.
It is not the suffering that defines us, but instead our willingness to do what our Lord asks us to do. If God calls you to a life full of blessings, our attitude is gratitude. If God calls you to do something difficult, our attitude is the same. All glory and honor to you, almighty Father.