Many individuals ask the question, Why God Allows Trials in Our Lives? No one likes it when trials or temptations come along and life becomes difficult. We all long for peace and comfort.
But Jesus told us that a life devoted to Him would not be comfortable. Though His burden is light, we continue to sin, other people sin against us, and Satan still does his level best to derail God’s plans.
We can, though, be assured that the pain and difficulties we face will not last forever. Psalms 30:5 says, “For his anger endureth but a moment; in His favor is life. Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning” (KJV).
In this article, we will be looking at 13 reasons why God allows trials in our lives.
1. He wants to test how strong your faith is:
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-4, ESV).
God sometimes allows trials in our lives because He wants to test our faith, to see if we are truly willing to follow Him no matter the cost. Though they can be indescribably difficult, we can stand firm and know that it will not last forever and that with His help, we can make it through.
2. To display His glory:
“If you say in your heart, ‘These nations are greater than I. How can I dispossess them?’ you shall not be afraid of them but you shall remember what the Lord your God did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt, the great trials that your eyes saw, the signs, the wonders, the mighty hand, and the outstretched arm, by which the Lord your God brought you out. So will the Lord your God do to all the peoples of whom you are afraid” (Deuteronomy 7:17-19).
Many times, we feel as if the temptations and trials in our lives will break us apart, that there is no way we will make it to the other side. Like the Israelites in this passage from Deuteronomy, we forget what the mighty hand of God can do. But the reality is that God is all-powerful and there is nothing He cannot do.
In the midst of your darkest moments, He is working all things together to display His power and glory over every situation. There is no need to fear because He is sovereign over all things.
3. He wants to stop you from doing wrong:
Sometimes we do not listen to His still small voice telling us not to do something. An example of this is the story of Balaam found in Numbers 22:27-29.
Balaam had been hired to curse the people of Israel. But God wanted him to do the opposite – instead of cursing them, he was to bless them!
On Balaam’s way to curse the Israelites, his donkey stopped and refused to move. He whipped his donkey and forced it to move, repeating this three times before he realized that the angel of God was standing in front of him, barring the way. He was so focused on the behavior of the donkey that he missed the reason the donkey would not move.
We need to remember to listen to the still small voice of God and understand that when roadblocks in our lives come, He may be stopping us from doing something wrong, or perhaps has a different plan in mind.
4. So that you will trust Him alone:
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9).
There are times when we simply do not have all the answers, and the pain we feel from the difficult times in our lives does not make sense at all. We can be sure that even when it doesn’t make sense to us, it does fit in God’s perfect plans and purposes. Our job is to trust Him.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
5. To correct you:
“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives” (Hebrews 12:5b-6).
There are times when our own actions and attitudes are not in alignment with God’s will and commandments. We often go astray, allow pride to rear its head, or forget to be kind to others.
Sometimes God allows difficulties to arise because He wants to correct our hearts and souls and remind us of the need to walk in obedience to Him.
6. So that you will grow in your faith:
“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you” (1 Peter 5:10).
When life is easy, it can be easy to become stagnant in our faith rather than growing and flourishing. Hardships are used by God to get us out of our state of complacency and prompt us to grow up in the faith.
7. He wants to draw you back to him:
In Revelation 2:2-4, Jesus addressed the Laodicean church with these words: “‘I know your works, your toil, and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false.
I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.’”
As Christians, Jesus is our first love and primary priority. But, like the Laodiceans, we often lose sight of Him and begin putting other things or relationships ahead of our relationship with Him. He longs for us to love Him with our whole hearts.
Sometimes, the trials in our lives are meant to remind us that we have forgotten the One our souls need and long for.
Related Article: 11 Ways to Experience Joy in your Christian Life.
8. To develop our character:
Romans 5:3-5 says, “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
There is a saying that hard things only serve to make us stronger. And that’s true. God often uses the trials and temptations we face to change us. He has a vision of what He wants us to be. And sometimes the person He wants us to be can only be formed through the difficult situations that come into our lives.
9. To allow us to face the consequences of our own mistakes:
“Desire without knowledge is not good, and whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way. When a man’s folly brings his way to ruin, his heart rages against the Lord” (Proverbs 19:2-3).
One thing we tend to forget is that there are times when hardships come because of our own mistakes or even sin. Divorce, financial difficulties, relationship failures, and other problems are sometimes caused by other people or by catastrophic events. But they can also come from our own foolishness.
When hard times come, it’s easy to lash out at God. But we need to stop and consider whether our own actions have led to them. If so, then we ought to learn from our mistakes and follow God’s ways instead of our own.
10. To make us more dependent on God.
The Apostle Paul told the Corinthian church that his sufferings had made him more dependent on God and also displayed a testimony of God’s power in the midst of his weaknesses. “So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited.
Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:7-10).
We as humans all too often become full of ourselves. Sufferings and trials remind us that we are no better than anyone else. And in the midst of the hardships when we feel most weak, God’s power is displayed in us.
11. To help us become more like Christ.
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
God is good and His purposes for our lives, even for the difficult parts, is for our good. His ultimate goal is for us to become like Christ in our speech and actions.
He has prepared works for us to do, all in line with His greater plans and purposes for the world. The trials and the temptations we face serve to shape us into people who are made in the image of Christ to accomplish His purposes.
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).
12. To prepare us to help others going through difficult situations.
Another thing that comes from our experiences of suffering is that we are able to better understand the pain of others. “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).
This is what Jesus Himself has done for us. He walked our roads and suffered on the Cross in order that He might be our High Priest who can sympathize with us. Sufferings allow us to sympathize with others’ pain.
13. To remind us of who He is.
In Daniel 4, we learn about the destruction and humiliation that comes when we forget who God is. King Nebuchadnezzar ignored what he knew of God’s power and authority. Instead of being thankful and humbled by God’s gift of a massive kingdom, he chose to pridefully believe all of it had come through his own accomplishments.
As a result, God drove him away from his kingdom. He roamed the fields and ate grass like an animal for some time. Finally, he came to acknowledge that every good thing ultimately was given to Him by God and God could also take them away. And he was restored to his kingdom.
Like Nebuchadnezzar, we sometimes forget who God is. We forget that He is sovereign over all and that His purposes are never thwarted. Sufferings and God’s mighty work in the midst of them serve to remind us of His power and might.
Related Article: The Top 13 Proven Benefits of Waiting on God.
How to Face Trials:
Count it All Joy
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds…” (James 1:2 ESV).
Not many people react to hardship and tragedy with joy. Most people’s initial reaction to tragedy or trials is dread or depression. Nevertheless, God’s word to us, recorded by James, is to count those trials as something joyful.
Now, for those without Jesus, this sounds like insanity. Who would possibly count it joy when someone they love suddenly passes away? Who would count it joy when he or she loses their job?
Not many people react to hardship and tragedy with joy.
However, when we belong to Jesus, and He is our Savior and our Strength, ‘counting it all joy’ makes perfect sense. We are in the protective hands of the Almighty Creator, Who sees all and knows all, and loves us. Nothing happens that He does not either allow to happen or cause to happen.
Since we are in His hands, we have nothing to fear when some unexpected trial or tragedy slams into our lives. James’ words reassure us that, as followers of Christ, we are never alone in whatever we face. James even tells us that God has a purpose for allowing these trials to befall us.
Testing = Steadfastness
“…for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness” (James 1:3 ESV; cf. Romans 5:3).
It has been said that faith is like a muscle; it only grows when it is exercised. I know that my faith grows in leaps and bounds when I face a situation that I cannot resolve, and then I see God work it out in a way that is far better than I ever imagined. Our faith grows when we trust God for the answer to some problem for which we see no answer.
The word here translated ‘steadfastness’ is also translated as ‘endurance’ in the New American Standard Bible; ‘patience’ in the King James Bible; and ‘perseverance’ in the New International Version. It carries the idea of ‘stick-to-it-ness’ or a firm resolve to remain grounded.
If Christians simply were saved and secluded themselves from society or suffering, we would soon be worthless to the rest of the world, many of whom desperately need to know that Savior, Jesus Christ. The Bible tells us that God, “…comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Corinthians 1:4 ESV).
We are much better able to comfort someone, who is going through a difficult time if it is something that we too have gone through; something in which we have seen God’s hand at work, comforting, healing, and restoring. We can be the cup that brings the cold drink of God’s love to the person who is going through a dry and parched time in his or her life.
Perfect and Complete
“And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:4 ESV).
When we trust God through our trials and tragedies, we become more and more stable in our Christian walk. We are less likely to be swayed by false teachings or even by temptation. The more we are sure that God will get us through any and all things we face, the more sure we will be of our safety in Him. We will be bolder in our walk and this will make us better witnesses for God.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him” (James 1:5 ESV).
Tragedies and trials have a way of driving us towards confusion and desperation. Nevertheless, the believer’s response should be to turn to God in faith and dependence. Nothing is too hard for God; with Him, all things are possible (Matthew 19:26; Mark 10:27; Luke 1:37, 18:27).
When we face trials or tragedies, our response should be to turn to God, not away from Him, knowing that God knew what was coming before it came. Your situation did not surprise Him, nor can it overwhelm Him. Our response should be to trust Him in difficult times as much as we trust Him when things are going well.
Related Article: 13 Reasons Why I Believe in the Power of Prayer.
Examples of trials in the Bible
At the end of his life, Joseph said to his brothers who had horribly mistreated him, “But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.” (Genesis 50:20)
Joseph was sold into Egyptian slavery by his brothers. Though he had earned his master’s trust and was allowed to work freely in the house, the lies of a woman thrust Joseph into prison. God granted Joseph an understanding of dreams while he was unjustly serving his time. Joseph interpreted a dream one day which could have been his way out of jail; but, the man who should have spoken for Joseph’s freedom forgot about him for two years.
When Joseph was released from prison it was to take an elevated position in the government. Joseph knew the region would go through a devastating drought. He made preparations to help save the people. In doing so he was able to rescue his brothers who had treated him so badly.
Joseph trusted in the promises of God. He knew that God had a plan for his life. Joseph endured difficulties because of his faith in God’s Word.
Certainly, there were highlights in the life of Moses. He spent time in the presence of God and was the instrument God used to lead the children of Israel from Egypt. But there were trials along the way.
At one point in Moses’ life, he prayed that if God really loved him then God would kill him as a show of compassion (Numbers 11:15). Moses had enough of the whining and complaining of the people that God asked him to lead.
The Israelites complained so much that Moses thought it would be a show of mercy by God if God would just kill him instead of making him live with the complaints.
I don’t like being around people who gripe and complain about everything, but I certainly have never come to the place where I asked God to kill me to get me away from them.
Job writes in the opening chapter of his story: “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job 1:21)
Job lost his houses, his riches, his cattle, and even his own children; yet he still chose to praise God for His goodness. Job recognized that everything he had in life came from the hand of the Lord. If God chose to take that away from him, then who was Job to complain?
Beyond the physical loss that Job endured, he had to deal with accusatory friends and his wife who told him to give up on God (Job 2:9). However, Job continued to maintain his trust in the faithfulness of God.
We know the Apostle Paul suffered many trials by the hand of man (2 Corinthians 11:23-28). But beyond that, he suffered some type of trial by the permission of God. Paul called it a messenger of Satan and begged God to remove this “thorn in the flesh.” Yet, God chose to allow Paul to suffer with this affliction (2 Corinthians 12:7-10).
Paul endured this trial which caused him to depend more upon the Lord. When we are weak, sick, in need, persecuted, or distressed for Christ’s sake, then God can show himself strong for our benefit and for His glory.
God told Paul that His grace was sufficient. It was sufficient for Paul; God’s grace is sufficient for us today.
“My Grace is Sufficient for Thee”
Will you allow God’s grace to satisfy you today? I can’t imagine all of the suffering that Christians are enduring these days. Some have physical afflictions that they live with daily. Others suffer great persecution from the world around them (of which most reading this will never experience). Many of us will have great pain and loss that we endure from time to time.
Whatever your trial today, trust in the grace of God to be sufficient. Go to Him in prayer. Read His Word. Allow Him to be all that you need to endure this trying time.
There are many reasons why God allows trials in our lives. What we can be sure of is that He is a good God. Nothing happens without Him being aware of it. His purposes are for our good and His glory. And we can completely trust Him to use trials and temptations to fulfill His purposes for us.