I’ve just had this realization that it all begins with trusting in God’s extraordinary love.
If we truly believe that God is love, that he possesses this tremendous love for us, then so many other things fall into place.
And if we can’t grasp hold of this great Truth then there are so many other things that we can’t possibly believe.
If God loves us then we can believe– we have no choice but to believe– that everything that happens to us will be redeemed; we believe that the pain, hurt, and betrayal that happen to us are not the final end. We believe that they will be dwarfed by the destiny in store for us. (Perhaps we even go so far as to believe that all things happen to us for a reason.)
The identical experiences– or even less painful ones– have an entirely different context if God’s love is a lie. And this context means everything to us.
I have heard well-intentioned but knuckleheaded Christ followers say to people “Look, God didn’t owe you anything. The mere fact of your existence is a bonus.”
But the thing that this misses is that if life is just a series of painful events, it is far from a bonus. There are people who can say, in honesty, that they wish they’d never been born. This is not so much because the actual pain they feel runs deeper than that of the Christ follower. It is because there is no reason to think the pain is anything but gratitious.
For a Christian, pain is like child birth. We have this awareness that there must be some amazing result (like a child) that the whole thing is worth. As babies are born, people cry in joy.
For somebody who doesn’t know God’s love, pain is like passing a kidney stone. A little rock that made it’s way through the urinary tract is not much worth the whole process.