Several years ago I read The Dark Night of the Soul written by a Catholic monk named John of the Cross. It had a significant impact on my life as John made it clear that there were times in a Christian’s spiritual life that could not be understood. Times of pain, confusion, and sorrow are the anvil on which God teaches us to love Him for himself, not for the good gifts he gives us. Others like Pascal, Augustine and modern day protestants like A.W. Tozer say the same thing. Eugene Peterson puts it in these words in the Forward to the book Mansions of the Heart by Tom Ashbrook, “We cannot have God on our terms, domesticated to our requirements, reduced to our ideas of what we think God should be doing.” A mature Christian will love God for Gods sake, for his beauty’s sake, for his glory’s sake. We don’t love God because he does what we want. We love God because he’s God, period! For this reason, a life of prayer—prayer being giving attention to God in every part of our lives (cf. 1 Thes 5:17)—rooted in our absolute acceptance by God because of Christ’s work on the cross, is fertile ground for spiritual maturity. We can wrestle, argue, and dialogue with God about failures, successes, and our future knowing that whatever happens, as confusing as it may be, doesn’t happen in a outside of God’s awareness and for God’s glory. It teaches us to love Him for His sake, and nothing more.