Sometimes, it is as if the thorn not only becomes a rose, but the rose is dependent on once being a thorn. Let me try to 'splain (as Ricky would say).
I've been musing about the fact that two giants of the Church - St. Paul & St. Augustine - both preached theologies completely and radically different from what they believed in their pre-converted lives. Augustine, who lived a randy early life, is accused of being 'anti-woman', but he wrote in a way that recognized a danger, a precipice that he wished others avoid; thus his fondness for the virtues of celibacy. St. Paul, who was a relentless believer in the Law, ended up preaching its contrary. The irony that he should be the apostle of the Gentiles is rich. And yet, who better? He understood the futility of the Law completely and experienced the contrasted reality of the Risen Christ like few could. In a sense won't we look forward, in an age of doubt and apostasy, to a greater joy when we experience things made clear? Won't the joy be incomprehensibly greater for having experienced its converse?