I'll slice your life...
One week up at camp this summer, we got into a discussion about difficult times during Bible Ex. My kids would pretty much unanimously agree that God would allow hard times to happen to a person, but they would say that He would *cause* a person to go through bad times. I tried to point out the flaw in this logic. If God knew that going through hard times would make a person better, and so allowed them, why would He not cause them if He knew the result would be good? When I asked another staff members what they thought, I found they would initial take the same position as my campers, though sometimes discussion would show they thought God might cause difficult times, though not trials that were the result of sin because God couldn't associate with evil.
In C.S. Lewis's book "The Problem of Pain," he talks a lot about God's love and how He can and will use pain to make us become more Christlike. And part of me just wants to accept an image of God who doesn't force us to go through hard times, but who simply uses the hard times we put ourselves in or the trials we are pressed with to create good in our lives. But really, I can't believe that. It doesn't make logical sense, for one. I would hope that a God who would allow a difficulty to happen to make me a better person would also cause it if He needed to. But more importantly, I can look back in my life and see how He dismantled it just to put it back together again. I think if God hadn't intervened, things would have gotten even worse in my life. It's like, some people think of how parents will have "tough love" for their children. But it's more perfect than that. Hard times are ok as long as you choose to believe that.
It's not necessarily an easy choice to make.