You cannot find yourself through success, because you lose your head over pride. And you cannot find yourself through the monotony of your daily life, because you give in to complaining. The only way to find yourself is in the fires of sorrow. Why it should be this way is immaterial. The fact is that it is true in the Scriptures and in human experience.
In John 12:27-28, Jesus said, "Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? 'Father, save me from this hour'? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!"
Then a voice came from heaven, "I have glorified it, and will glorify it again."
We make a really big deal about troubles and sorrows. I know why -- they are troublesome and sad! But when we feel that way, we are in no position to question God's wisdom. During those times, our judgment is clouded with anger and/or pain. Clear head or not, though, why God should allow pain and suffering is a major mental hurdle for both believers and non-believers alike (it's also known as the theodicy or the problem of evil in the world of philosophy and theology).
If I were to oversimplify things, the answer to that dilemma would be as follows: in tough times, you can find out what you're made of.
There are many analogies that speak to this point:
Those who own fruit trees beat the base of the trunk when they are still saplings until some of the bark comes off. Why? Because the tree responds by growing taller and straighter than it otherwise would have.
How do you get impurities out of iron? You burn them out at very, very high temperatures.
And the last bit of wisdom about this topic comes from a homeless man who had lost everything. He told the evangelist who was talking with him these words about God: "The teacher doesn't talk to the student during the test."
Hmmm. God, may we listen to your guidance before and after our tests. And may we pass those tests according to your standards. Thank you for loving us enough to test us and push us to be better. Amen.