“If God is on my side, I won’t have troubles or trials.”

Is this true?

Think of a difficult time you had in the past. Maybe you are struggling right now. Some of us assume that if God is with us, we won’t struggle through troubles or trials. We may even think it is God’s job to ensure our comfort.

However, that’s not the theme in the Bible. The main purpose of trials in our lives is to mature us: mentally, emotionally and most importantly, spiritually.

Look at what it says in the book of James (1:2-4):

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,
 whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

What is perseverance? Perseverance is busting your butt in the toughest class in school despite not being a genius. It’s finishing a backbreaking summer job on a farm or in a factory when everyone else quit. It’s fighting through round after round of chemotherapy in the hopes of a cure for your cancer. It’s continually forgiving and loving your father or mother despite their serious personal shortcomings.

At the end of each of those trials, are you different person? You bet you are. Are you a better person? Almost always. The bottom line: Persevering under trial matures us.

If we persevere, trials grow our character and mature us, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. And that’s what God wants. He wants us to be mature in our faith.

Should we be surprised when trials come? Look at your life and the lives of those around you. At any point in time, we are either going into a trial, coming out of a trial, or in the middle of a trial. That’s the reality of life. So expect trials to come.

We should also expect to struggle during trials in order to grow. A weightlifter won’t get huge biceps if he curls 5 pound weights. He needs to progressively push himself beyond what he can lift. And he needs to sweat, and groan, and be sore the next day if he wants to grow. If we aren’t pushed out of our current state by trials, we won’t grow.