“It is then, we say, in the successive stages of his experience, that the believer sees more distinctly, and adores more profoundly, and grasps more firmly, the finished righteousness of Christ. And what is the school in which he learns his nothingness, his poverty, his utter destitution? The school of deep and sanctified affliction. In no other school is it learned, and under no other teacher but God. Here his high thoughts are brought low, and the Lord alone is exalted.”
- Octavius Winslow
The "why?" questions hardly ever get answered. But the "what?" question seems easy. What is God doing in my affliction? He is conforming you to the image of his Son. And the depths of affliction correspond to the heights of glory that await those who trust in Christ.
I think that when a believer feels forsaken by God he is on some cusp of Christlikeness he could not broach otherwise.
Feel forsaken? Wondering where God is? Cling to Psalm 22 like it's a life preserver.