Have you ever had the bottom drop out of your life? Things had been going reasonably well. The birds were singing. The sun was shining. Then without warning, the storm clouds began to gather. It started to rain on your parade. A calamity hit. A tragedy struck, and suddenly you felt lower than you had ever felt before. What was it all about?
Or, have you ever had one of those times where you were walking with God, trying to do all the things that should build you up in your Christian faith, when, out of nowhere, you were hit with a heavy-duty, intense temptation? It often happened at the worst conceivable time, like when you were in prayer or in church. You wondered, Why is this happening to me?
What is the purpose of trials and temptations in the life of the Christian? Is there anything we can do to move them along a little more quickly?
Without a doubt, none of us enjoy trials. None of us enjoy being tempted, but there are some valuable lessons that come through these times God allows in our lives. In fact, the Bible tells us, "My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing" (James 1:2–4).
I have heard people say, "Christians are a lot like tea bags: you don't know what they are made of until you put them into hot water." Sometimes we think we are doing pretty well spiritually when all of a sudden, God puts us in some hot water. He lets us go through a trial. He allows temptation in our lives. Yet it is those difficult times that help to strengthen us spiritually.