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I think I've gotten to a place of finally being able to understand just an inkling of why God allows us to go through so much pain in life. Even though His intent for us was to never have eaten from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, He still had a contingency plan for us. When Paul got the revelation to pen that all things work together for good, he had to have had some experience that brought about the same epiphany that I know I've recently experienced.

One of the things that I've come to understand from dealing with pain is this: How else would we truly know how much God loves us and how far He is willing to extend it to us if we had not gone through such painful and horrific experiences in life that would make us shy away from Him at the very thought of what we've done. When He said that nothing could separate us from His love, He really and truly meant that. I see that now because feeling the weight of the pain of the things that you've done in your life even though you realize, have a revelation of, and know that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, you still have the memories to deal with. True enough, you must learn how to catalog those memories of the things either that you've done or that have been done to you, God still chooses to love us with an unconditional love that yet blows our minds to date.

I'm so thankful for God's love that He looks beyond our faults and sees our needs. It's so comforting to know that in a world where people can be so unforgiving even after God has forgiven you and you've forgiven yourself. The fact that people will sometimes never let you live down what you did or who you used to be can bring back the pain and hurt of those things past, making life difficult, but still yet doable. The "comfort food" in all of that is knowing that we serve a God Who created us and knew that we would go through everything we went through before we even went through it. He knew all the things that would happen to us. He knew about those who would turn their backs on us and those who would walk away but yet He chose to stick by us because He knows the good He put inside of us and the purpose that He created us for doesn't change or go away just because we went through a bad patch or a hard time. I've come to find that those things only build us in character and confidence in who we are in Christ and Whose we are.

Even as I pen this, I write this with tears in my eyes knowing all of what I've done, many of which I can hold my head up high about, other things that I could hang it over in shame. But knowing that God's love covers me and keeps me in sanity is so comforting and the only thing that I can hold to with an assurance is that He won't reject me because of the things from the past that brought His Name reproach. He doesn't hold anything against me and He doesn't hold anything over my head. And when the times come when the pain seems almost unbearable, I can go to Him, I can run to Him with all my hurt and pain and give it to Him because He knows what to do with it all and He won't cast me away from Him. Instead, He uses all those hurtful and painful things to, ironically enough, make them all work together for my good in fulfillment of my purpose in Him. And what this does for me is make me have that same love for everyone I meet. Who am I to hold anything against them when the same loving and caring God that chose to forgive me did the very same for them? No matter how cruel people in this world can be, it can never be a match for God and His eternal love He showers us with and nothing can ever separate us from it or Him.