The apostle James says, “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” (1:13). God created man perfect but he has brought sufferings upon himself by his disobedience (Gen. 1:27, 31; 3:15–19; Eccl. 7:29; Rom. 6:23).
James makes it clear that the sufferings, trials, and problems that every Christian faces are not from God. The Almighty will permit man to face trials, but never with the purpose that any one should fail. God’s purpose is like that of the refiner, who casts his metal into the fire with the desire that a purer metal will be the result. Satan, however, tempts with the purpose of causing defeat (Matt. 4:1). Suffering is inflicted by Satan but is overruled by God for merciful ends.
God overrules by making the trials the means of developing a better character in His children ( Job 42:5; Ps. 38:3; 39:9). For the Lord “works all things together for good” for those the love Him (Romans 8:28). Christ suffered more than any human being (v. 13). The “fiery trial” simply makes Christ’s disciples “partakers” of His sufferings for their own eternal good.
Thus, if God permits suffering and perplexity to come upon the believers, it is not to destroy them but to sanctify them (Rom. 8:17). The troubles and disappointments of this life take their affections from the world and lead them to look to heaven. The difficulties teach the believers to depend upon God for salvation. And they bring about a more humble and submitting spirit, a more patient and kind character.
During the ages, God’s children were able to say at the end of their lives that it was good for them to have been so afflicted (Ps. 119:67, 71; Heb. 12:11). Like Joseph after his trial, he was able to say to his brothers, “Ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good” (Gen. 50:20).
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In His service,