Ken Gire in his book Life as We Would Want It . . . Life as We Are Given It has compared our stressful times to the interesting geological history of the great state of Colorado. The flat terrain of the eastern part of the state, which has seen little seismic activity and rarely draws a tourist, is comparable to our desire for an easy, placid life as we wish it would be. However, the results of such a comfortable existence, as in the land, are noticeably bland and ordinary.
On the other hand, the breathtaking beauty of the Rockies in the western part of the state is the result of stupendous tectonic shifts, violent geological upheavals, cataclysmic tremors, and massive earthquakes. As a result, people flock from all over the world to witness their grandeur and enjoy a Rocky Mountain high. Likewise, the oftentimes surprising shifts, upheavals, tremors, and earthquakes in our lives are frequently means by which God molds us into the people he wants us to be through the work of the Holy Spirit. God’s goal, Gire asserts, is to make everything beautiful in its time. This may not be life as we want, but it is life as we get it. In faith, we are obstinate in our conviction that God is working all things together for good to conform us to the beauty of his Son (Rom. 8:28-29).
Helpful as Gire’s analogy is – it’s a form of what is called a “soul-making theodicy” – the things we go through still mystify us and leave us with many unanswered questions. Why me? Why now? Why this? O Lord, how long? In the midst of the mysteries, we trust in the providence of God, even if his purposes are hidden from us, learning how to worship, obey, and give thanks in all things. As Thomas Traherne has said, a Christian is an “oak flourishing in winter.”
– Reordered Love, Reordered Lives: Learning the Deep Meaning of Happiness