Some hardships simply come with life and from challenging experiences such as raising children, earning a living, military service, etc. But we also know from Scripture that Satan is the cause of many of our troubles. We are taught in 1 Pet 5:8, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” Thankfully, God is merciful, and He actively intervenes in this world not only on behalf of His spiritual children, but also for all of mankind since He loves every single person that He has lovingly created. If he did not intervene actively, we would all be consumed by the sin curse on this world, the normal challenges that come with life, and the active mischief of the Devil and his demon followers. Lamentations 3:22 tells us, “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not.”
Even though God is watching out for us, we still have to be on our guard as the passage from 1 Peter 5:8 suggests. God expects some degree of effort and responsibility on our part when He has given us the training, wisdom, and tools to do certain things for ourselves. And we can certainly avoid some trouble from Satan if we are on our guard spiritually by spending daily time in prayer, Bible study, and meditation on Him and His Word, as well as guarding our heart against sin, which often begins when we first give in to the thought of sin or when we submit to sinful thoughts that feed our pride or sinful desires. Even if we are on our guard, though, there are certain times in which God will allow us to go through trials, just as He did with Job, allowing Satan to have his way with us in certain areas, but only with limitations that God establishes. God sets the limits of our trial, and He remains in control of our trial at all times. He determines the duration of the trial (Genesis 15:13-14, Numbers 14:33, Isaiah 10:25, Jeremiah 29:10). He also determines the time of the trial (2 Kings 6:33, Micah 6:9). And he regulates the magnitude of them (Isaiah 9:1, Jeremiah 46:28). Lastly, even though trials are sometimes necessary, God has no pleasure in the suffering of His children (Lamentations 3:33).
More on this tomorrow.