And so God must, from time to time, and sometimes very insistently, disrupt our lives so that we release our grasping of life here and now. Usually through pain. God is asking us to let go of the things we love and have given our hearts to, so that we can give our hearts even more fully to him. He thwarts us in our attempts to make life work so that our efforts fail, and we must face the fact that we don’t really look to God for life. Our first reaction is usually to get angry with him, which only serves to make the point. Don’t you hear people say, “Why did God let this happen?” far more than you hear them say, “Why aren’t I more fully given over to God?”
We see God as a means to an end rather than the end itself. God as the assistant to our life versus God as our life. We don’t see the process of our life as coming to the place where we are fully his and he is our all. And so we are surprised by the course of events.
It’s not that God doesn’t want us to be happy. He does. It’s just that he knows that until we are holy, we cannot really be happy. . . .
We are so committed to arranging for a happy little life that God has to thwart us to bring us back to himself. . . .
Now, I am not suggesting that God causes all the pain in our lives. . . . But pain does come, and what will we do with it? What does it reveal? What might God be up to? How might he redeem our pain? those are questions worth asking.
Don’t waste your pain.
— John Eldredge, Walking with God, p. 87-88