As much as we might hope that following Jesus ensures a pain-free life, reality constantly argues against it. As does Jesus himself, when he warned us that we would face troubles as long as we are in this world. Some of the most difficult questions we face concern how we reconcile God's love for us with the painful experiences we go through. When trouble comes we often end up blaming him for not loving us, or ourselves for not doing enough to earn that love. Responding that way, however, pushes us away from the God who wants to be present with us even in our darkest days. Every writer of the New Testament assured us that as believers we would go through hardships, but he would be present in them all and transform us through them.