How do you know if something bad that happens to you is from God, or if it's from the devil? I've gone through a hard time recently, and one friend tells me that God sent it to make me a better person, while another friend says the devil sent it to make me doubt God. How do I know who's right?


To be honest, we don’t always know where some of the hard times come from that invade our lives. I doubt if Job realized in the midst of his suffering that God and Satan were engaged in a massive spiritual battle for his soul (see Job 1:6-12).Sometimes it’s clear, however; in my own ministry, for example, I’ve sometimes faced difficulties that could only have come from Satan, because they were clearly intended to stop the preaching of the Gospel. I’ve faced other situations, however, that were clearly from God, because they led us into new and unexpected paths for the preaching of the Gospel. Sometimes, however, the origin of a particular problem was unclear.The real issue is this, however: When hard times come into our lives, how should we react? Should we panic, or get depressed, or spend time blaming ourselves or others? No. Instead, we should respond in faith, praying for God’s will to be done, and for Him to help us overcome all evil for Christ’s glory. Every difficulty is an opportunity for God to demonstrate His love and power.But hard times also can strengthen us as we rely on God, no matter where they came from. Ask God to make this true in your life. The Bible says, “We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Romans 5:3-4).