"God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one” (James 1:13).
By their very nature, trials can seem like scams. We are promised the sky but when we find ourselves embroiled in them it feels like we’ve been duped. How can this hardship possibly lead to benefit?, we ask ourselves.
Trials may even prompt us to question the character of God. What kind of Father allows His children to endure such hardship? Such questions cast doubt on His promises. Can I really approach a trial expecting the crown of life or am I being played the fool?
The validity and value of trials depend on the character of God. That’s why James goes on to assure us of the good intentions of our God and the profitability of our trials. “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted by God,’ for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one” (James 1:13).
In order for us to grasp James’ gist, we need to know that the Greek word for trial has the same linguistic root as the word for temptation. Whether the word is translated trial or temptation depends on the context.
What is James telling us? He is saying that with every trial we face comes temptation. Trials are given us by God for our good. God does not intend our harm. But present with each trial is the effort of our enemy the devil to lure us to the rocks of spiritual ruin. He seeks to turn us against God. “Is God really good?” “Does God really care?” “Is God really able?” “Is God real?”
Every trial we encounter comes with a warning label: “DANGER. HANDLE WITH PRAYER.”
“My Father in heaven, I know You and I trust You. Grant me wisdom to look to You.”