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Why Does God Give Some More Trials Than Others?

We all face trials and tribulations in life. Yet some people seem to face much more hardship than others. If God is good, why does He allow such inequality of suffering? This question has perplexed believers and non-believers alike.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: God does not actively single out certain people for more trials. Rather, He allows each person to undergo the trials they need for their spiritual growth and development.

Additionally, external factors beyond God’s control influence the types and quantity of trials people face.

God’s Sovereignty and Human Free Will

God is sovereign but people have free will

God is all-knowing, all-powerful, and in complete control, yet humans have the ability to make choices and act freely. This seeming paradox has been debated by theologians and philosophers for centuries.

Though we may not fully comprehend how both can be true, Scripture affirms God’s sovereignty as well as human responsibility. We see examples of this throughout the biblical narrative.

God ordained everything that would happen, including how people would respond. Yet people made real choices, like Pharaoh who hardened his heart and refused to let the Israelites go. The book of Proverbs repeatedly advises people to choose wisdom and righteousness instead of folly and wickedness.

Paul urges believers to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” Though God is working in us, we are told to be responsible and obedient.

Natural consequences of human actions

While God is sovereign, He allows the natural consequences of people’s actions to occur. Much human suffering results directly from our own poor choices – substance abuse, violence, dishonesty, selfishness, and greed create enormous pain and hardship.

Scripture warns that “a man reaps what he sows” (Galatians 6:7). Sinful lifestyles ruin lives, damage relationships, and destroy health.

Though not all suffering is directly linked to personal sin, we live in a fallen world in which “the whole creation has been groaning” (Romans 8:22). Our rebellion against God brought a curse upon the earth and brokenness into every aspect of life.

But one day “the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay” when Christ returns to establish His kingdom (v. 21).

Environmental, societal, and genetic factors

Difficult circumstances like poverty, illness, and natural disasters disproportionately affect some more than others. Due to no fault of their own, millions are born into extremely challenging environments. Even brain chemistry and DNA can predispose individuals to certain diseases and disorders.

Yet God is able to redeem any hardship for good (Romans 8:28). Throughout Scripture we see Him working even through adverse circumstances to accomplish His sovereign plans. While unfair suffering rightly outrages our sense of justice, we trust that God will set all wrongs right in the end.

Though the mystery of suffering eludes full explanation, we can take comfort in God’s sovereignty, His love, and His promise that “He will wipe away every tear … and there shall be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain” (Revelation 21:4).

The trials of this life are “light and momentary troubles” compared to the “eternal glory” that awaits all who trust in Christ (2 Corinthians 4:17).

Trials Help Spiritual Development

Tests of faith build character

Going through difficulties can strengthen one’s faith and trust in God. As the Bible says, “trials test faith, and this purifies it like fire” (1 Peter 1:7). When we rely on God during adversities, we build spiritual endurance and character.

Abraham and Joseph endured tests of faith that later allowed them to fulfill God’s purposes. Similarly, our trials build godly virtues like patience, perseverance and hope.

Overcoming trials builds spiritual muscle

Battling challenges requires spiritual strength that develops through using faith. Just as weightlifting tones physical muscles, overcoming trials builds our faith muscles. Each test strengthens our spirit for the next one.

As Paul said, “We also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance” (Romans 5:3). With each victory, we grow in courage, fortitude and confidence to surmount future trials.

Learning through suffering brings wisdom

Difficulties teach us valuable lessons about trusting God, self-control, patience and empathy. As C.S. Lewis said, “Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.” Suffering helps us relinquish control to God and draws us nearer to Him.

Moreover, enduring troubles gives insight to comfort others in their afflictions (2 Corinthians 1:3-5). As Helen Keller remarked, “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened. “

Inequality of Suffering Remains a Mystery

Why does God allow some people to face more trials and suffering than others? This difficult question has challenged believers for ages. Though we may not fully understand God’s ways, we can find comfort and hope in His word.

The Problem of Evil

The inequality of human suffering is an example of the broader “problem of evil.” If God is all-powerful and all-loving, why is there evil and suffering in the world? Philosophers and theologians have grappled with this for millennia.

Though we don’t have all the answers, Scripture teaches several key truths:

  • Suffering entered the world through human sin and the Fall (Genesis 3).
  • God permits evil and suffering, but does not cause it.
  • God can redeem suffering for good purposes if we trust in Him (Romans 8:28).

The Mystery of God’s Will

Even with these truths, we still wonder why God allows some to suffer more than others. While God sees the full picture, our vision is limited. Isaiah 55:8-9 declares: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

As God told Job, His wisdom and purposes are beyond human understanding. But we can take heart knowing that our suffering is never meaningless or beyond His control.

Trusting God’s Goodness

When facing deep trials, we may be tempted to doubt God’s goodness. But Scripture gives many examples of faithful believers who clung to God through horrific sufferings.

For instance, Joseph suffered greatly at the hands of his brothers before God exalted him in Egypt (Genesis 37-50). And Job lost everything, yet still blessed and worshipped God (Job 1:20-22). Like them, we can trust God’s character and promises, even when we don’t understand His plans.

We also have the supreme example of Jesus, who endured the cross to bring us salvation (Hebrews 12:2). If anyone understands our sufferings, He does. And He promises to be with us through it all (Psalm 23:4).


In conclusion, while the inequality of human suffering remains a mystery, we know that God does not directly distribute more trials to some people. Rather, He allows trials to build people’s character and spiritual maturity.

Additionally, external factors like genetics, environment, human evil and chance play a role. As we grow closer to God through overcoming trials, we gain the faith and wisdom to better understand His ultimate plans.

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