Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed His love among us; He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. 1 John 4:8-9 NIV
I will say, I've not spent much time actually considering the depth of this verse and truth about God. I've not really considered what it means to serve the God who actually IS love. He's the purest definition of it. He loves us better than we can ever love each other. It's a statement that has become so familiar that I've almost desensitized myself to its gravity and importance.
I know this sparks a conversation: then why do bad things happen to good people? Well. I don't have a firm answer for you. But from my 26 years of life and (typically) intentional pursuit of getting to know God better, His heart hurts when we hurt. He intended for our lives to look differently (see Genesis 1 & 2). If you can try to consider your lessons to be discipline and not punishment, I think we can get a better view of God the Father. If you can try consider illness and abuse and neglect and slavery and bullying and all the bad things that damage our hearts and cause us to doubt God and His love for us (see Genesis 3:1 for the original moment humans are provoked to question God... it goes alllll the way back people--no wonder we struggle with doubt from time to time) are symptoms of life on earth, you can re-place these aspects of life in the appropriate places in our hearts. **if you made it through that sentence, way to go* We can better see these times as opportunities to press into God, the Source and reference point of love, and find a way to stabilize our mindset in the midst of a storm.