Why Difficulty and Suffering Are Part of Our Lives
Written by Phylicia Masonheimer | January 12, 2018
Do you ever have a day (or month!) where everything goes wrong, and you find yourself questioning why life has to be so hard? We’ve all been there in varying degrees. Hardship is a part of life. Though all people struggle against difficulty, younger generations tend to misunderstand it most. We don’t like to be uncomfortable, sad or hurting—no one does. But life is not meant to be easy or comfortable all the time. In fact, it can’t be.
In Genesis 1-3 we see the creation of a perfect world. That perfect world no longer exists—because in Genesis 3, perfect people rejected a perfect God and sin entered the world. These people—Adam and Eve—had a choice. They could submit themselves to God and His design, or they could try to take control, and through rebellion destroy the beauty God created.
Adam and Eve did what we all would do: They rejected God for personal power and comfort. In so doing, they actually lost power and comfort, and so did we, their descendants. Death, difficulty and suffering entered our world when sin was introduced. We still feel those effects today.
Sin—Not God—Is to Blame
It’s easy to look at the world and say, “Where is God?” But God is not to blame for the evil we see, and He’s not to blame for the hardship we experience. Sin—of others, of the world, of ourselves—is to blame for every dark thing we experience. Apart from God, we have no way out from this darkness.
It was God who came to Adam and Eve in the Garden and offered them a way out. He clothed their nakedness and did not kill them. He still allowed them to participate in His plan to “fill the earth,” though the earth was now tainted with sin. And since that time, God has continued to strive with mankind, offering hope and peace to those who see beyond hardship to the God who rescues.
Hard Is Not Bad
Though the world is affected by sin, some hard things aren’t bad. Work is not bad; it’s God-designed, and it existed before the Fall. Sometimes we have to work hard at relationships and opportunities because this world is fallen and sin affects everything. But that difficulty is not bad in and of itself—it’s part of honoring God! We need to reframe how we look at difficulty. It is not our enemy.
Our lives aren’t meant to serve our own comforts. They are meant to leave a legacy to the glory of God; to make disciples in the place we’re planted. That’s hard work, but it’s a great work.
God Is the Redeemer and Sustainer
In sadness, difficulty and hardship, God does not abandon us. He is right there in the depths beside us, holding our hands, redeeming our shame and sustaining us when all seems lost.
The past year was difficult for me and my family. We did not expect to face some of the hardships we went through, nor to watch those closest to us suffer pain. But God never left us, and He never leaves you. Sin was not His intention. He hates it! Yet every day God steps into our fallenness and sustains us, lifts us and redeems us. It sheds new light on the meaning of “amazing grace.” He is present no matter what happens, and He loved us enough to send Jesus to make a way out of our fallen world. That’s something to be grateful for—even when life is hard.