If Christians have difficult lives, why would I want to follow?

Why does God allow us to go through hard times? If He loves us, why would He let us suffer? The Bible clearly says that God uses hard times to make us more like Jesus. This is a hard concept to grasp until you go through a trial in your own life and have God by your side.

• God wants us to grow closer to Him. The goal of the Christian life is to grow to be more like Jesus and trials often help us to grow. Through suffering we learn more about God and we cry out to Him for help. Our relationship with God grows stronger as we trust in Him.

• Trials develop character. “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing … God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him” (James 1:2-4, 12).

• We find victory during trials. God has given us the Bible to guide us, His Holy Spirit to comfort us, and prayer as a means of talking to Him. “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you” (1 Peter 5:7).

Suffering is hard, but when we have Jesus as our Savior, we can rely on Him and trust He has a purpose for each thing—good or bad—that He allows into our lives. We know He is good and wants the best for us.

We encourage you to talk to the ISI staff about your concerns. Perhaps they can share a personal example of how God has used a difficult time to bring them closer to Him. Being a follower of Jesus isn’t always easy, but God is always by your side.