Why life is so hard: God has a reason for allowing your troubles

I wonder why life is so hard?  If you haven't asked that at some time, you're not a single person, or at least not any single person I know.

Somewhere we've gotten the idea that everything should go along smoothly.  When it doesn't, we're shocked.  We get angry and throw a tantrum or we get depressed and mope around or we get bitter and snarl at the world.

Sheesh!  That's no way to live.  Wouldn't it be better to try to figure out why life is so hard?

Then you can form realistic expectations.  You can be prepared when trouble hits, as it always does.  And, you can get over the delusion--which I had for years, by the way--that God is picking on you, personally.

Why life is so hard:  Self-sabotage

None of us wants to admit we're the cause of many of our own problems.  That's why I keep preaching on this site to think ahead before you do something.  Use your God-given imagination to forecast the consequences of your actions.

So many of us act on impulse, which may be harmless when you're ordering something new in a restaurant, but which can be disastrous if you jump into bed with someone on a whim.

Our culture puts a high value on being spontaneous.  Know why?  When you do something without thinking it through, which is what spontaneity is really about, you often make unwise choices.  In many cases, you spend money you don't have.  Now if that makes me sound like a cheapskate, I plead guilty.

But consider the credit card debt in our culture.  Do you think even half of it would exist if people thought things through?  Buying lots of stuff you can't afford isn't spontaneous.  It's self-sabotage.

But it's not just spending.  It's poor choices.  Don't believe you can use tobacco, drugs, or excess alcohol without it coming back to haunt you.  People who think, "It'll never happen to me" need to grow up!  They're not invincible.  When we're asking why life is so hard, we all need to first look in the mirror.

But enough scolding. 

If you finish this article and all you learn is to make wiser choices, you'll cut out two-thirds of the suffering in your life.

What about undeserved hurt?

I know you have a lot of hurt in your life you didn't cause yourself and don't deserve.  You may be disabled or have health problems that are no fault of your own.  I sincerely empathize with you over that.  I have health issues of my own, and as you may know, I've had cancer twice. 

One of the unfortunate truths of life is that bad things happen to good people.  Why life is so hard seems worse when we haven't done anything to deserve it.

The natural response is to question God.  Why don't you answer my prayers for relief, God?  Why are you allowing this to happen to me?  Why can't I get what I want, God?

Beware of the influence of the Prosperity Gospel, which claims that you can get whatever you want in life, from wealth to good health to smoooooth sailing.  Not only are those unrealistic expectations, but Jesus never said that.  In fact, he said:

"In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33, NIV)

Who are you going to believe:  Jesus, or some TV preacher who wants you to send him money so he can live in a mansion and drive an expensive car?

Let's readjust our expectations to come in line with reality.  You can't have it all.  You can't have a deliriously happy life on this earth.  Because we live in a sin-tainted world, your life will never be perfect and you're fooling yourself if you expect it to be.

That doesn't mean good things are forbidden to you.  It simply means the perfect, trouble-free life doesn't exist.  That existence is only possible in heaven.  It's good and natural to keep trying to improve your condition.  Goals give your life purpose and excitement.

Yeeks!  This is depressing

First, if you are a Christian, you will know some form of discrimination or ridicule all your life.  Jesus promised it and he never lied.  The world doesn't like Christianity because it reminds people they're sinners, and they don't want to admit that.  They think they're all pretty good people at heart.  Phooey.

So here's the Big Answer:  Life is so hard because it forces you to depend on God and not yourself. 

God allows trouble in your life to drive you to him.  He is eager to give you all the strength you need, but he demands that his people depend on him.  He always has.

If you're familiar with the story of Joseph in the Old Testament, the point of it is that God sustains those who trust in him.  That was even more obvious in the New Testament accounts of Jesus and the apostle Paul.  Both turned to God in prayer when undeserved suffering came into their lives.  Their examples shout to us to do the same 2,000 years later.

Loving God is a privilege. Trusting him is a necessity.  I've learned I just can't make it on my own.  Neither can you.  But when you trust God and ask him to act through you, you can make it.

When you trust God and he brings you through your crisis, your love for him increases.  We simply cannot escape trouble in this world, but with God's Holy Spirit inside us, we can overcome it.

If you are not a Christian, you have two strikes against you.  First, like everybody else, you can't escape trouble, and second, you try to get through it under your own steam.  It doesn't work.  It's overwhelming.  Only God can meet you in the valley and bring you out the other side.

Are you exhausted enough to recognize the truth of this?  Go here to do something about it.

When trouble comes, don't feel picked on, then.  It took me decades to discover that God did not have a target on my back.  It's turned my life around knowing that in life's inescapable crises, I have a Helper.  Yes, you can ask why life is so hard, but don't lose sight of the fact that God is so good.

Return to top of why life is so hard.