The Lord sends trials and afflictions to every single child of God. He sends them because He loves them and sends them for many reasons. Here are a few.
1. For The Glory of God. - God proves Himself to His people during their trials. He proves His Word, proves His promises, proves His presence, proves His power, proves His love, mercy and grace. And His people glorify Him by enduring those trials. As Job said during his severe trials, “The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord”; so all of God’s people finally say . . . to the praise of His glory. We give glory to our God by faith; faith which witnesses to the world, by patiently enduring those trials and ascribing them to the hand of our all-wise, sovereign Lord. Trials are for His glory.
2. To Strengthen Faith. - Trials do not give faith, but reveal true faith and strengthen faith that God has given. “The trying of your faith worketh patience . . . and patience, experience; and experience, hope.” We don’t really learn anything until we go through it. The Lord sends trials for us to experience His Word, experience His mercy, grace, sufficiency, and goodness. David wrote: “It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I might learn Thy statutes. We don’t really believe God’s Word until we are tried and tested by It; until we prove It; until He holds us up by It. Trials, like waves that beat against a ship, prove that ship to be sea-worthy. The more storms the ship endures, the more assurance that it will stay afloat. A life time of trials should prove and strengthen faith in the Living God . . . that He holds us up.
3. To Give Us Compassion and Comfort for others. - Paul wrote of the ‘God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. (2 Cor.1:3-4). The best person to comfort someone going through a particular trial is someone who has gone through that trial. Our Lord did just that, ‘In that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succor (help) them that are tempted” (Heb.2:18). He knows our trials and tribulations and has compassion on us, having endured the same. And that is why He puts us through them, that we might help them that are tried. Just as every member of our physical body suffers with that part of the body that is hurting, so it is with the body of Christ. “Knowing this, that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world” (1 Peter 5:9). God puts us through these things for His glory and the help of others. Do not withdraw during your trial, but reach out to someone who is going through the same. That is why the Lord sent it.
4. To Chasten Us. - “Whom the Lord loveth, He chasteneth.” Chastening is not strict, legal punishment, but loving correction. We need it. And it is a lifelong need. There is much about us that needs correcting, and our loving Father sends various trials and afflictions to teach us, turn us, convert us, and conform us to the image of His Son. There is much dross that needs to be removed and only the Father knows how. He chastens us principally by His Word, but often through painful lessons. Sadly, we only seem to really learn something when we fail or fall miserably; only when it causes us or someone else much pain. But the lesson is learned. O’ may we see His chastening hand quickly; be converted and turned. Loving correction is what it is; never needless pain, but necessary. Our Father’s chastening rod is never more that we can bear, and much less than we deserve. Chastening trials always end well. “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.” -- 1 Peter 1:7
5. To Wean Us . . . from this world. God’s people are not of this world. The child of God has been given a heart and mind set on things above, where Christ is; an unseen world, an unseen kingdom, to which they are bound for and long for . . . but alas, they often get attached to things below, things of this world, perishing things of clay. So the Lord sends trials, afflictions, troubles, and tribulations, to wean His children from these things, to show them the idolatry of them, the vanity of them, the captivity and encumbrance of them. He often does this by removing those things, or making them a burden to us.
6. To Draw Us Closer . . . closer to our Lord and each other. The more we see of our Lord’s love, mercy, grace and loving hand of correction on us (in spite of our sins against Him) the closer it draws us to Him. “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.” Similarly, when we go through things together, trials, troubles, failures, even hurting one another . . . and in spite of our sins against each other we end up forgiving and uniting; this both convicts us of the sin in us and proves the grace of God in us. God’s love, mercy and grace is always in spite of us and the reason is found in Himself and His Son. If we can sin against each other yet remain together, even grow closer, in spite of all this, then God’s grace is real in us; perhaps we are His children after all. If there be ‘any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels of mercies’ then the grace of God must be in us.
“For this God is our God for ever and ever: He will be our Guide even unto death.” – Psalm 48:14