Question: I know God will use trials for learning purposes and to help us grow, but does he create them? (As I write that, I feel that goes against who He is, but I’m asking anyway.)
We know there are certain scriptures that give us this principle. Genesis 50:20 says, “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.” This is what Joseph said to his brothers, of course, after they sold him into slavery in Egypt and were reunited many years later. We know how God turned that situation around, saving the people of God in the time of famine. People, really people inspired by the devil, brought this trial upon Joseph. Though God used this situation in a mighty, mighty way, He didn’t cause Joseph to be beaten and sold into slavery. He didn’t cause Joseph to be falsely accused, imprisoned, and suffer years of anguish. That was the devil’s plan. But see God knows the beginning from the end! He had a plan to turn that around all along. We see this principle again in Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Does this say some things? No! It says all things. That means even trials and tribulations work together for good, for the people of God. This is what happened for Joseph. Through the trial, through the opposition of man, through the imprisonment, God raised Joseph up to a position of power, protection, and authority. Praise the Lord!
The world is undergoing a test larger than many have seen in their lifetime with this corona virus. The best and the worst of people has been coming to the forefront. Just as we have taught many times, people are like sponges and when they are squeezed whatever is on the inside is what will come out. There has been attack on the body of Christ and opposition to the gospel more than ever I’ve seen. Our church was attacked, accused, and even threatened. Slanderers tried to put us on trial for preaching the Word of God. But they couldn’t win! God turned it around. He took the hate and He turned it into free publicity! Thousands of people (we have proof of this with reports from our online church pages) now know that we are a church that preaches the Word of God boldly, that we are a church that chooses to walk by faith! Hallelujah! Thousands of people are watching our sermons and reading about our church. Many are reaching out expressing interest in knowing more about us. God will always make it good as we trust in Him!
James 1:12-13 are important scriptures, “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.” It would go against God’s nature if He were to bring trial unto His people. A couple scriptures later we see this truth, James 1:17, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” Is a disease a good and perfect gift? No! So diseases can’t be from God. Is a hurricane a perfect gift? Would you give it to your child? No! Storms of destruction are not from God. The list goes on and on.
John 16:33 reminds us that in Him, “…you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” The source of tribulation is never God. Tribulation is of the world. The god (lowercase) of this world is the devil. Sadly, mankind gave authority over to the devil in the Garden of Eden and he has reigned in that authority since that time. This is why Jesus came to make a way for us to gain back that authority! Christians don’t have to operate and shutter under the power of the devil, the name of Jesus makes the devil have to shutter and take cover from Christians!
But, just as the devil tried to tempt Jesus, he will try to tempt mankind, so Christians need to know who they are and where they stand in Christ and when it comes to the devil. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says, “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” No matter what the weapon is, we win! The temptation will never take us out if we stay standing!
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.