The Zohar, Chapter “VaYaera (And the Lord Appeared),” Item 510: “And the angel of His presence saved them.” Thus, He was with them in the affliction, since he begins to say, “In all their affliction He was afflicted…” …When Israel are in exile, Divinity is in exile with them, too, as it is written, “Then the Lord your God will turn your captivity, and have compassion upon you.”
When the creature is in harm’s way, feeling exile or bitterness, it is capable of feeling the Creator and being closer to Him, as it is said: “The Creator stays close to broken hearts.” There is no other way to awaken the creature, approach it, and stay together except for the times of trouble. Being in this state, the creature awakens.
However, if the creature is willing to inflict upon itself “suffering of love,” if it suffers because of the absence of a connection with the Creator rather than the earthly troubles, it ascends and becomes able to attain advanced states. It then lives the life full of blessings and pleasure.
The sensation of deficiency and darkness that the creature experienced while being separated from the Creator does not vanish; it remains within it. This sensation stays in the empty space beneath and inside of it, as well as in all the good that is above it.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 4/11/10, The Zohar