It's a simple equation: God blesses and takes care of those who rely on Him and trust in Him and serve Him. Just as simple is the fact that Satan and sin destroy and demolish anything that they can get ahold of.
Viewing life in that perspective makes it easy to understand why the world is hurting... why so many of my students go to a house but not a home at night... and why every time I sit down with the Peoria Journal Star I wonder if there's any hope for anybody anywhere.
At first glance, though, those equations don't explain the trials of believers. It's the age-old question: Why do bad things happen to good people? It's something I've been thinking about lately a lot. Walking down rocky roads makes me so tempted to question, "What am I doing wrong?" As I was thinking about it on Saturday morning, I ran across these verses in Luke 1 about Zacharias and Elizabeth: "And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord, blameless. And they had no child, because that Elizabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years."
Elizabeth's trial of barrenness was not a result of sin or wrong. It was simply that... a trial. It was good to be reminded on Wednesday night of II Corinthians 12, and God's use of trials to remind us of who we really are in relation to Himself. I fear trials - I really do. When life is going well, I wonder when the bubble is going to pop. I'm so scared of being tested. But challenges and trials are not necessarily ominous... or a result of sin. They are to help us re-focus on God and keep an eternal perspective, and honestly, to help us live holier lives and to keep us from sinning. Trials are meant to draw us closer to the Lord - not separate us from Him, like sin does. That's why Paul could say that He rejoiced in tribulation.
"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." John 16:33