There is a saying in sports, “Amateurs practice until they get it right. Professionals practice until they never get it wrong.”
God wants us to be professional believers.
What does he want us always to get right and never get wrong? He wants us to love him unconditionally and trust him completely, in every circumstance, even when doing so is hard to justify.
How do we become professional believers? Practice.
Three days after watching the Red Sea part, and scurrying to safety on dry land, the Israelites once again got mad at God and questioned his plan for them, because they were thirsty. They needed more practice before they could trust God for everything.
We are the same way. No matter how big or recent our past triumphs, we are always one step away from getting mad at God and questioning his plan for us, because of some pressure or inconvenience.
This selfish tendency is a natural byproduct of our sinful nature.
God wants us to reach the point where we always love and trust him unconditionally, despite our feelings and circumstances.
Learning this lesson requires practice. Opportunities for practice arise when we encounter affliction. Thus, recurring hardships are necessary drills for professional believers.
God does not engineer distress to teach us to love and trust him. He cannot initiate evil. However, he uses the afflictions we inevitably encounter in a fallen world for this purpose.