The most common struggling point for people as they relate to God is the whole pain and suffering issue. If God is a God of love, how can pain and suffering be allowed to happen? Why would a God who loves us cause us the pain of sorrow? Paul has an answer for that when we read through the seventh chapter of 2 Corinthians. God uses the sorrows we face to produce a greater faith in us. Paul also draws a distinction between godly sorrow and earthly sorrow, so what is the difference?
For Paul the difference is seen in the referred to letter which we do not have record of. It is thought that in the unseen letter, Paul corrects the church in Corinth severely. In other words, Paul lets them have it. We are not given the subject or content of the rebuke, but we do know it left the Corinthian church feeling sorrowful. Paul would say this sorrow is godly sorrow, because is came after being shown the error of ways, and a call to repentance. Earthly sorrow can still be used by God to grow us but it is generated not from correction, rather from circumstance or consequence. When someone we love dies, there is sorrow, earthly sorrow from the circumstance. When we make a poor choice and it causes hurt for ourselves or others, the is consequence.
God uses everything in our lives, if we will allow it. Yet, there are times when correction comes, and pain is felt. This pain and sorrow is to compel us to a deeper relationship with God. That is Paul's hope for the Corinthians, and for you and I.