Sometimes a pious turn of phrase, taken too literally, can become a destructive way of looking at our relationship with God. One of these, I think, is the idea of God sending us suffering so that we can grow in virtue by bearing up under that suffering.
It's easy to see how one gets here. All the pieces are good and true. God is the creator of the world and holds it in existence through the power of his will, so although God does not will evil to happen, he allows it to happen, and he makes it a part of his plan. Thus, one can say, in a sense, that when bad things happen to us they are "part of God's plan" in the sense that God remains in control. He's not saying, "Whoa. I hadn't expected that one. How did that slip by?"
It's also true that when we experience suffering we have the opportunity, by willingly joining our sufferings to Christ's sacrifice, rather than allowing them to make us angry or resentful, to grow in virtue.
However, put these two together and we start getting ideas like, "Think how much God must have loved you in order to [cause your spouse to die/make your child disabled/give you cancer/make you lose your job]! It's tough love, but God is willing to cause us any degree of suffering in order for us to grow in virtue."
This, I think, while often said by earnest and well meaning people, and actually a very wrong way to think, and if taken seriously paints a very sick picture of God. After all, God, at the very definition of his being, by loves us. He is love. To love is to wish the best for the other. As such, God does not want us to suffer, although when we do suffer it is his will that we should grow in virtue through the experience. God's will, however, in its fullest realization, the perfection for which he made us, is that we should be happy. Not that we should suffer.
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