There are two varieties of trials and troubles that can come into the life of the believer: those we bring upon ourselves and those that come through no fault of our own.
Sometimes we walk into trials and problems of our own making. They are the direct result of our own selfishness, pride, greed, or lust. We create our own problems. James wrote, “When you are being tempted, do not say, ‘God is tempting me.’ God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else. Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away” (James 1:13–14).
Many times when we break God’s commandments and reap the results of our own sin, we get angry at the Lord. We want to know why He is doing this to us. Meanwhile God is saying, “Listen, friend, you are just reaping what you’ve sown. You brought this on yourself.”
Then there are the trials that come through no fault of our own. Suddenly the bottom drops out of life. Without warning, one problem on top of another comes tumbling into your world. One of the first things we ask when trials come our way is, “Why, Lord? Why are You allowing this to happen to me? What have I done to deserve such a fate?”
What is the purpose of trials? James 1:3–4 tells us: “For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.”
It’s important for us to know that God has lessons He wants us to learn in times of trial. Many times it is simply to see whether we have learned the material.