We might have learned, even from the poets, that Love is something more stern and splendid than mere kindness. Kindness, merely as such, cares not whether its object becomes good or bad, provided only that it escapes suffering. If God is Love, He is, by definition, something more than mere kindness. He has often rebuked us and condemned us but he has never regarded us with contempt. He has paid us the intolerable compliment of loving us. We are, not metaphorically but in very truth, a Divine work of art. Over a sketch made idly to amuse a child an artist may not take much trouble. But over the [magnum opus] of his life—the work which he loves—he will take endless trouble—and would, doubtless, thereby give endless trouble to the picture if it were sentient. One can imagine a sentient picture, after being rubbed and scraped and re-commenced for the tenth time wishing that it were only a thumb-nail sketch whose making was over in a minute. In the same way it is natural for us to wish that God had designed us for a less glorious and less arduous destiny; but then we are wishing not for more love but for less. You asked for a loving God; you have one. Not a senile benevolence that drowsily wishes you to be happy in your own way…but the consuming fire Himself, the Love that made the worlds, persistent as an artist’s love for his work. It is certainly a burden of glory not only beyond our deserts but also, except in rare moments of grace, beyond our desiring. We should not ask that God’s love should reconcile itself to our present impurities—not more than the beggar maid could wish that the King should be content with her rags and dirt. What we would here and now call our ‘happiness’ is not in the end God chiefly has in view: but when we are such as He can love without impediment, we shall [finally] be happy. – C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

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