Why Is Life So Hard?
When we look around the world it’s clear to see that there are so many hardships. We only need to watch the news to realize that life is not easy for many people. In our world we experience poverty, racism, economic crisis, wars, natural disasters and all manner of abuse and wickedness which we commit towards each other.
There are many issues in this world that have ripple effects on society and humanity as a whole. We live in a global village where one crisis in one part of the world can cause a crisis elsewhere in another part of the world.
Even in a community or society we are so interconnected that our actions can have a direct or indirect effect on people we don’t even know.
For example sinful actions such as a street riot, a crime committed, a murder or even corruption by a person or by a group of people can cause untold despair, grief, problems and hardships to others.
The Bible is full of individuals and nations that experienced hardships and all manner of tribulations from Joseph, Moses, Job, David, the prophets, to Jesus and His disciples who experienced persecution and execution for preaching the gospel.
For centuries the Israelites themselves as a people experienced hardships especially under slavery from the Egyptians.
So the question is: why is life so hard for so many people? Why do many experience economic and social hardships? Why does life seem to favour a few people while many seem to struggle? Why is there so much exploitation and injustice towards the weak? Why do many struggle with diseases, pain, depression and all types of abuse? Was life always meant to be so hard?
To answer these questions, we look at 3 major reasons why life can be so hard.
Life is Hard Because of The Effects of Sin
In Genesis chapter 1 and 2 we read that God created the earth and the universe and all that He created was good and perfect. He also created the first man and woman, Adam and Eve and they too were both perfect. There was nothing that God created that was imperfect. In Genesis chapter 1 and 2 therefore there were no hardships or problems of any kind in the world.
It is only when we read from Genesis 3:1-24 that sin enters the world through the disobedience of Adam and Eve who disobeyed God’s one instruction not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:16-17).
The disobedience of Adam is the reason why sin exists and why the world is full of problems and hardships today.
So life is hard because of the initial wrong actions of one man – Adam. Therefore we are all sinners because we inherited our sinful nature from Adam.
Romans 5:12 says: Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—
Romans 3:10-11 says: None is righteous, no, not one; 11 no one understands; no one seeks for God.
Romans 3:23 says: For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
The effects of Adam and Eve’s sin had a ripple effect on both humanity and also on the earth itself.
When we read Genesis 3:1-24 we realize that their sin gave birth to pain, hardships and problems for humanity and for the earth.
For example, God tells the woman that He will multiply the pain of childbearing (Genesis 3:16).
Adam was told that because of his sin, the ground is now cursed and that man will sweat and work much harder than before in order to earn anything that comes from the ground (Genesis 3:17-19). Effectively God was saying that the physical earth was going to be hard to live in. This problems exists even today. We experience physical pain; we experience droughts, famine and all sorts of bad weather patterns from floods to hurricanes because of the existence of sin.
We also notice that God’s relationship with man was no longer the same because of sin. Adam and Eve’s understanding of themselves and their understanding of God changed because they realized they were naked and they also hid from God (Genesis 3:7-11). These problems also exists today. Man hides from God; man does not naturally seek God; man is at enmity with God; man does not understand his own depraved nature.
Another thing that changed because of sin, was that man’s relationship with one another also changed as Adam and Eve did not take accountability for their disobedience. Instead they looked for someone else to blame (Genesis 3:12-13). This problem also exists because there are many interpersonal issues and problems that exist in the world. We lie about each other, we slander, we abuse each other and we do so many wickedness towards each other because of the existence of sin.
Therefore the major cause of hardships in our world is because of sin. Life is hard because humanity has a sin problem.
Life is Hard Because of The Systems of the World
The world is full of laws, cultures, ideologies and principles that are in direct opposition to the nature of God and the word of God. The world systems are at enmity with God.
Jesus said the following about the world:
John 15:18-22 – “If the world hates you, know that it has hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will also keep yours. 21 But all these things they will do to you on account of My name, because they do not know Him who sent Me.”
The world loves its own but it does not love God nor the things of God. Therefore the world has setup its own systems from political systems to economic, to social, to financial, to cultural and even spiritual systems that oppose God’s word and God’s principles for life.
Therefore we live in a world where life seems to favour the corrupt while the weak and poor suffer. We live in a world where God’s spiritual and moral values are no longer important. The world favours the narcissistic instead of the humble; it favours the powerful over the weak; it favours wickedness instead of righteousness; it favours evil instead of good; it favours any idea that opposes the word of God.
These are the very reasons why the world hates God and why it will persecute anyone who stands for the truth. It is also the reason why we are told not to conform to the standards of this world (Romans 12:2).
The Bible also tells us that satan is the “god of this world” who works to blind people from the gospel (2 Corinthians 4:4).
In John 10:10, Jesus says the devil only comes to kill, steal and destroy.
Therefore many of the systems of the world are mostly created by the devil’s inspiration, and these systems will always create hardships for many people because the world is against God.
Jesus said the following about facing trials and tribulation in the world
John 16:33 – I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world
Life is Hard Because of the Desires of The Flesh
The flesh relates to our sin nature or our natural inclination to desire to do that which is sinful. Every human being is born with the sin nature because we inherited our inclination to sin from Adam.
Therefore our sin nature is hostile to God and it is also hostile to our fellow men.
The Bible says the following about the flesh / sin nature:
Romans 8:6-8 says: To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
So what are the characteristics of the flesh?
Galatians 5:19-21 says: Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
When mankind lives to satisfy its own fleshly desires as mentioned above, then hardships will always exist. The more mankind becomes a slave to his own fleshly desires, the more problems and trials that will exist in the world.
God’s word also tell us that in the world there will come times of difficulty or immense tribulation & hardship because of the corrupt nature of man’s heart.
2 Timothy 3:1-5 says: But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.
When Jesus spoke of the last days He said the following about man’s love due to wickedness:
Matthew 24:12 – Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold,
So the wicked condition of man’s heart because of sin is also at the heart of why hardships and tribulations exist in our world.
How Can We Cope When Life Is Hard?
It is never easy to cope or endure during times of hardship and suffering. Trials are never desirable. However, God encourages us to remain steadfast and to endure suffering and hardships because it is an unavoidable part of life.
Jesus said that even though we have tribulation in the world, we must not despair because He has overcome the world (John 16:33). We therefore seek God’s guidance through all the hardships and trials we may face in life. We must seek the direction and comfort of the Holy Spirit who is our Comforter.
Even in the midst of trials and tribulations we must seek inner peace and joy that only God can give through faith in God and casting all our cares and problems onto Him (Philippians 4:6-7; 1 Peter 5:7).
James 1:2-4 says: Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Romans 8:18 says: For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
Romans 8:35-39 says: Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Therefore no matter what we are going through in terms of trials and hardships we must hold tightly onto God and trust in Him to deliver us and help us endure through it all. If you’re a born again Christian we must remember that the trials of this world are temporary.
Ultimately the eternal glory and joy we will experience in heaven cannot be compared to the temporary sufferings on this earth. We must therefore hold onto Christ, the Author and Finisher of our faith.