Peter tells the persecuted church in I Peter 1:6-7, "6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.'" 

Pastor Troy Billow illustrates the meaning of these passages both from being a former goldsmith himself, and from his experience in walking with the Lord. Hardships and trials are strenuous and burdensome to go through, however since God cares more about our character than He does our comfort, He will use these things like a torch that will melt us down to refine us. God allows trials and hardships because He wants to prove your faith more real, genuine, and legitimate, so that it has the substance and the backbone to have an impact (in an encouraging way) to influence others.