Responding to a “pew to pulpit” question:

Does God give us tests (hardships or sufferings) to pull us closer in a relationship with Him?

In Paul’s letter to the Romans, he writes that we should

“Take pride in our problems, because we know that trouble produces endurance, endurance produces character, and character produces hope.” (Romans 5:3-4 CEB)

Sometimes life on earth can be downright miserable and painful. But in the end, we have immense hope.

Through our tests and endurance of them, we build character, which eventually leads to hope—a hope based on God’s promise and the reality of eternal life. But in the meantime, we must deal with the present.

When we grieve, God grieves with us. When we cry, God wipes away our tears. When our hearts break, God is there trying to mend it and pick up the pieces.

So does God give us tests (hardships or sufferings) to pull us closer in a relationship with him?

I do not believe God intentionally gives us hardships, but God knows we will inevitably have them in life. God helps sustain us through them. It pains God just as much as it pains us to see and know that people are suffering, in pain, in places of desolation, lacking hope.

But, as we experience challenges and difficulties, we have one of two options: We can either see how God helped us through them and become closer to God or we can wrongly blame God and get pushed further away.

We can grow into wonderful, loving, generous and hope-filled people and disciples through many of life’s various hardships. It’s not easy, and life will not always be a bed of roses.

Still, we can take comfort that through each of those moments or situations, God is with us. In the end, all will not be lost. Our life, our legacy and our love will live on.