Let’s be honest. Life is hard. Some people deny it but deep down inside, everybody knows it's true. But why is life so hard?
It always begins with so much promise. A sperm and egg connect, then cells multiply and divide until nine months later a new human being enters the world. Everyone cheers with joy!
The parents hope and pray this new life will grow strong and healthy and they are excited for all the potential they see in this tiny offspring.
There is great potential for every life, but nobody will get through life without hardship. Regardless of age, sex, religion or geography, life is hard for everyone.
LIFE IS TOUGH - LIFE IS NOT EASY
While no two people suffer the same way, the one thing everyone has in common is suffering and hardship.
People have been asking why for thousands of years. Why is life so hard? Why, does this always happen to me? Why can’t I get a break? Why does everyone else have it so easy?
Why, why, why?
“Why?” questions about suffering and the hardship of life seem to never end. Does anybody have the answer to why is life so hard?
The Bible does, of course.
The Bible is the most honest book in the world.
It’s all about people’s problems in life and it is perfectly clear that life is not easy for anyone!
For affliction does not come from the dust, nor does trouble sprout from the ground, for man is born for trouble, as sparks fly upward.
But why is man born for trouble? That sounds sick and twisted to those who believe life is a precious gift.
And it is sick. The reason it’s sick is because every heart is sick. Sick with a fatal disease called sin.
The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?
How did man’s heart get sick?
Once you know the answer to that question you’ll understand why life is so hard.
WHY IS LIFE SO HARD?
In this article I’ll show you the reasons why life is so hard, what purpose there is in hardship and how shifting your mindset about hardship can make your life better!
It will be a hard pill to swallow for some people. But the bottom line is that people suffer hardships because of God’s sovereignty and man’s choices.
GOD IS THE AUTHOR OF LIFE
To answer the question, “Why is life so hard?” we must go to the beginning of life.
The main reasons for hardships in life are due to God’s sovereignty and man’s choices.
Adam and Eve were placed in the garden of Eden and given everything needed for life. They were given only one rule: to not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, or they would die.
But when the serpent tempted Eve, he caused her to doubt God’s word and character. He enticed her by saying that she would not die and that God was holding out on her. That there was something better about knowing about evil.
Rather than accepting that God is life and life should be centered on Him, man chose to center his life on self instead.
Adam and Eve chose to believe the devil’s lie instead of God’s word and sinned by eating the forbidden fruit. They chose to live independent from God in hopes of being like God.
It might sound like sick and twisted logic, but that’s the frame of mind we all have in our human nature when we are born.
All mankind has a sin sick heart that suffers from that twisted logic of living independent from God but wanting to be god of their own lives.
Because of sin, people are selfish and will sin against others in their attempt to control their own life and make it better for themselves. We’ve all been the victim of somebody else’s sin, but we’ve also been the one to sin against others.
Because of sin sick hearts, people choose to do things that God has clearly defined as sin and God will judge them for their sin. It’s a principle of sowing and reaping.
Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.
Whoever sows injustice reaps calamity.
It was in judgment that God cursed the earth after Adam and Eve sinned.
To the woman He said, “I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth, in pain you will bring forth children; yet your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”
Then to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’; cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; and you will eat the plants of the field; by the sweat of your face you will eat bread, till you return to the ground, because from it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
That is why you see disease, natural disasters like hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, droughts, pestilence, etc. That is why things break down, including our minds and bodies. There are car wrecks, murders, famines, all kinds of calamities and illness.
God gave Adam and Eve free will to choose to obey or not. Although He did not cause them to disobey, He allowed it. And He continues to allow people to sin.
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.
But remember, God is life. Sin is not the master over life. God is the almighty sovereign over all things and nothing happens unless He allows it.
God permits suffering to bring about a greater good for individuals, as well as groups of people, even nations. And God is always glorified, even in the midst of man’s sin.
IT'S OK TO ASK WHY IS LIFE SO HARD?
What can you learn from Joseph about the hardships of life?
In the book of Genesis we learn that Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery. His sin sick heart was proud and he behaved conceitedly toward his brothers. Their sin sick hearts were envious and plotted to get rid of him.
They sold him to slave traders and he ended up a servant in Potiphar's house. Potiphar's wife had a lustful heart and wanted Joseph to have sex with her. He refused on righteous grounds, and she had him put in prison.
In prison, he interpreted dreams for others and the one who was released was supposed to mention him to the Pharaoh but forgot to. It was two years later before he remembered and Joseph was released from prison.
Why did God spare Joseph’s life, only to be sold into slavery? Why did God allow him to go to prison when he did what was right? Why did God keep him there after he had helped a fellow inmate?
I’m sure Joseph had plenty “Why is life so hard?” questions of his own.
Later in the story, when Joseph is released from prison and promoted to rule under Pharaoh, a famine breaks out in the land where Joseph came from and where his family still lives.
Joseph had been storing up grain in Egypt when his brothers come to beg for provisions. They did not recognize Joseph, but when he revealed himself and they realized they were speaking to their brother they had sold off, they feared for their lives.
But Joseph understood his suffering had a greater purpose than just enduring hardship.
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF HARDSHIP?
But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.”
This true story teaches us that God was sovereign over every detail of Joseph’s life. That He allowed Joseph to be sinfully proud, allowed his brothers to sinfully mistreat him, allowed him to suffer for being righteous before his master’s sinful wife, and to suffer when those he helped forgot about him.
His suffering was not in vain. God used all these circumstances (including the famine in Joseph’s homeland) to change Joseph’s heart and to save the nation of Israel. And God was glorified through this because He had promised Abraham to make Israel a chosen nation.
Although people were allowed to make decisions to sin against others, God’s sovereignty trumped them all and He used their sin to fulfill His purposes. And He is still at work today in the same way.
Ironically, because God is so gracious, hardship is part of the recipe for success.
SOMETIMES IT FEELS LIKE GOD DOESN'T WANT YOU TO SUCCEED
Why is life so hard?
I can say for certain that many people’s lives are hard because they have a distorted perspective of their past.
I made life hard for myself by harboring bitterness in my heart. Until I was able to accept God’s sovereignty and good purpose for the painful events of my past, I was unloving, unforgiving and self-righteous.
In my attempts to control the circumstances of my life, I grew angry, anxious and frustrated because I was not in control.
I made life hard for myself by taking on more responsibilities than I had resources for. Then I complained that I had too much to do and it wasn’t fair that others around me weren’t working as hard as me.
I was reaping a harvest of overwhelm because I sowed seeds of overwork.
When I finally realized it was my own fault, I beat myself up with regret for my failures. I felt guilty and anxious because I had caused pain to those around me.
Life was hard because I had wrongly defined what a successful life looked like and was trying to force it to happen. I behaved as a fool and received a fool's reward.
If I had sought God’s wisdom and purpose for my life, I never would have taken on so much. I would have released the poison of unforgiveness and not allow it to contaminate my future.
There is no success when you try to live independent of God.
I learned the hard way that it was my own fault that life seemed so hard for me and easy for others. I thought success would be found in my achievements but it backfired on me.
Instead of success, God let me taste failure.
Just like Joseph, I needed a new perspective. I learned from failure and agree with God that affliction was good for me!
WHY IS LIFE SO HARD FOR SOME AND NOT FOR OTHERS?
Can you imagine Joseph serving in Potiphar’s palace as a slave and thinking about his brothers and the freedom they had to come and go as they please?
To have free time for themselves and enjoy the comforts of home and company of their families while he was taking care of another man’s affairs and had no say about his own life?
If you’re anything like me, you’ve compared your life to others and felt your life was harder and it wasn’t fair.
Comparison always leads to discontent.
But when you compare your life to anybody else’s, you are judging God. He is the sovereign ruler who decides who your parents are, where you grow up, how much money you make and a zillion other details about your life.
One of the biggest mistakes is comparing your life to somebody else’s and assuming they don’t have any problems. But that is so narcissistic.
Life is not easy for anyone.
You can’t smell the stench of a man struggling with pornography, or the aching heart of his rejected wife.
You see the glamorous celebrities who seem to get all the breaks, but you don’t see how much drugs and alcohol it takes to keep them living the fake lifestyle of the rich and famous.
Or how many times they’ve contemplated suicide because they sold their souls to achieve their fame and fortune dreams of Hollywood.
The truth is, you make assumptions about other people, while they make assumptions about you. Most people wear a mask that says, “Everything is fine!”
People are often too proud to admit they are suffering so they paint on a smile for the world to see, but cry themselves to sleep alone in the dark. We've all done it.
Make no mistake, life is tough for everyone.
The biggest problem about comparing your life to others is focusing on your suffering instead of looking for solutions to the problems that cause suffering.
When I seriously compare my life to others, I realize I don’t have it near as bad as most people on the planet do. And that leads me to thank God for his mercies to me. And it gives me a heart to look at others with compassion, instead of having a pity party for myself.
It causes me to ask, “Why is life so hard for OTHERS?” and “What can I do to help them?”
God is not opposed to comparisons. Just make sure you are comparing values instead of people.
If you’re going to make comparisons, do it right.
COMPARING SUFFERING TO GLORY
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
2 Corinthians 4:17
For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.
The scriptures connect suffering with glory. And when the one is compared to the other, we see it’s like comparing apples to oranges.
Suffering is temporary. Glory is eternal.
And glory is beyond comparison because it is so glorious, we have no words to describe it in a way we can even comprehend it!
I think that’s what Joseph learned too. I bet that while he was in prison, he never thought he would become Pharaoh's right hand man and be given the keys to run the kingdom. Who could imagine going from prisoner to ruler? That’s beyond comparison.
I’m sure he thought he’d never see his family again, yet when he did, he was overcome with emotion. While locked in a dark and filthy prison, I doubt he even dared to dream of such a glorious moment, even though the dreams of his early years foretold this event! That’s beyond comparison.
Joseph’s story teaches some of the purposes God has for hardship. You can learn a great deal from Joseph about how to respond to hardships in your own life.
HOW TO RESPOND TO HARDSHIP
The world says suffering is evil and should be avoided.
But the Bible says suffering is redeemable.
If you can embrace that perspective, your life will change for the better.
People suffer emotionally because they do not understand God and His ways, because they do not understand the sin in their own hearts, because others sin against them, and because everything in this present world is cursed.
Yet, God works through all these for His glory. When you have a proper understanding of God, self and sin, your perspective of suffering and hardships will change and your life can glorify God in the midst of hardship.
God uses suffering to sanctify His people.
It humbles them to teach them they are not the god of their life.
It teaches them to depend on God for everything.
It reveals sinful desires to remind them how much they need a Savior.
It grows their character and increases their faith.
It teaches them to endure suffering with hope, patience and thanksgiving.
Ultimately, it transforms them to be more like Jesus.
YOU CAN GET THROUGH THE HARD TIMES
This article taught why life is so hard, but sometimes your attitude makes life harder than it has to be.
Make these three mindset shifts to make your life ten times better!
Next time you experience a hardship in life and asking, “Why is life so hard?” try doing these three things instead.
CONSIDER IT JOY
Your trial is perfecting your faith. Every Christian wants to be more Christlike, but the way to get there is through suffering. Study scriptures that focus on God’s purpose for your life, including His glory and your future glory.
Are you trying to live life without God’s help? Repent! And instead of comparing your hard life to others, look for opportunities to serve others and help alleviate their suffering.
Instead of complaining, be grateful. God’s mercies are new every morning. Thank him for your blessings, and even for your suffering. Nobody enjoys suffering, but you can thank God that it has a purpose now, leads to glory later, and that He is with you every step of the way.
Life is tough for everyone.
You will never solve all of life’s problems and will continue to suffer until death. But if you have a biblical perspective about why life is so hard, why you are suffering, and the good purposes it can achieve for you, you will not only endure, but also find life is not as hard as you first thought.
Why is life so hard for YOU?
If it’s because you don’t know how to manage the affairs of your life, don’t leave without grabbing your FREE QuickStart Life Plan Workbook!
Just enter your name and email below for instant access.
Discover How To Set And Achieve The RIGHT Goals Faster Than You
Grab your FREE Quick Start Life Plan Workbook
and learn how to
START LESS and FINISH MORE today!
Simple step-by-step guide to transform your life so you can
live with wisdom, confidence and intention!