When I was first starting to take Christianity seriously, I read George Macdonald. (He is a Scottish-Protestant writer of sermons and various fantasy stories. You may have heard of him if you’re a C. S. Lewis fan, for C. S. Lewis thought very highly of him.) I liked his books very much. They were some of my first introductions to what Christianity actually looks like, and although I’m obviously not a Protestant, I learned a lot from him.
For one thing, I’ve always taken it for granted that what he said about the purpose of Jesus’ coming to earth is true (I’m paraphrasing): Jesus didn’t come to do everything and then leave us happy but unchanged; he came to make us like him.
And this Jesus died on the Cross. He died to everything and all: physically and also in the deeper things, for his friends abandoned him and those whom he created spat on him, whipped him, and called him a liar.
I’ve always been completely uncomprehending of people who think otherwise, whose Christianity is to provide them consolations. Charles de Foucauld tells us that nothing unites us more closely to Jesus than being reduced to nothing; in this, he echoes his beloved John of the Cross. And how many saints have told us that love makes us like the one we love? How could we live in luxury when Jesus was whipped and abandoned? If we chose such a route of consolations, clinging to consolations and never wanting dryness and desolations, what kind of pitiable Christianity would that be?
Not one worthwhile.