From The Rainbow (#127) by Rabbi Avigdor Miller
One of the purposes of suffering in life is to let us know how lucky we are. If Sancherev hadn’t come along, if they would have lived peaceably in Eretz Yisrael, they never would have known of invasion, they wouldn’t have known the happiness of redemption. Sancherev gave them an inkling of how fortunate they were.
If the ten tribes hadn’t gone into exile, the people in Yehuda never would have known what it means to be happy, to remain in your own land. If there had not been any mabul (flood), the people afterwards wouldn’t have realized how lucky they are. Every morning, you should make a bracha, Rokah Haaretz Al Hamayim (who firms the land upon the water) that Hakadosh Baruch Hu gives us dry land on which to walk. Isn’t that a pleasure, when you walk on dry land instead of sinking?
And Adam, if the sun hadn’t gone down, would never appreciate the happiness. But when the sun came up the next morning again, and then Adam realized how good it is to have the sun come up every day, to be alive..
Look down and see those who are less fortunate than you.
Whenever something happens in life, some misfortune, let’s say chas v’shalom a man broke an arm, he should think I didn’t break the other one. And it’s the first time. Look at all the days I was healthy. Same with any misfortune, any sickness, it has to bring this limud (way of thought).
The Chovos Halevavos says you should always look at those who are less fortunate than you. Look down and see those who are less fortunate than you. And look up and see those who do more mitzvos than you. That’s the way to look. People look at the opposite. They look to see what’s the standard of mitzvos to people who do less. Why should I do so much? look how many people don’t keep anything! I’m keeping something. And happiness, — Look how many people are richer than I am. No. It’s the opposite. And that’s a great lesson how to make use of life.