A Catholic nun named Monica Hellwig proposed a list of ‘advantages’ of being poor. These have been adapted by Philip Yancey, who has broadened the list to include all who suffer:
1. Suffering, the great equalizer, brings us to a point where we may realize our urgent need for redemption.
2. Those who suffer know not only their dependence on God and on healthy people but also their interdependence with one another.
3. Those who suffer rest their security not on things, which often cannot be enjoyed and may soon be taken away, but rather on people.
4. Those who suffer have no exaggerated sense of their own importance, and no exaggerated need of privacy. Suffering humbles the proud.
5. Those who suffer expect little from competition and much from cooperation.
6. Suffering helps us distinguish between necessities and luxuries.
7. Suffering teaches patience, often a kind of dogged patience born of acknowledged dependence.
8. Suffering teaches the difference between valid fears and exaggerated fears.
9. To suffering people, the gospel sounds like good news and not like a threat or a scolding. It offers hope and comfort.
10. Those who suffer can respond to the call of the gospel with a certain abandonment and uncomplicated totality because they have so little to lose and are ready for anything.
Yancey, Philip. Where Is God When It Hurts? (p. 149). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.