Why Does God Allow Hardship in my Life?

Life is hard.  You know it, and I know it.  It seems like everything will be going so smoothly, and then you get blindsided by an unexpected emergency.  Often it feels like life is just a series of obstacles and problems that we must endure.  Many people in the midst of difficulty, ask the common question, "Why does God allow this to happen to me?"  Plagues of doubt haunt many Christians because of this question.  Part of the reason is that the thought of hardship and suffering as a Christian doesn't even seem possible.  Many have this idea that when you become a Christian, life becomes a nice stroll in the park on a beautiful spring day.  Many follow Christ with the preconceived notion, that God owes them an easy life.  This just simply is not the truth.  No where in the Bible are Christians promised a life of ease without problems or suffering.  In fact, we are guaranteed troubles in this life. (John 16:33) This promise of hardships in this life, leaves many of us scratching our heads.  Our confused logic goes as follows:

1. If God is sovereign and in control of everything, he can prevent suffering and hardship.

2. If God loves me, than he will keep me from hardship.

3.  Therefore, if I experience hardship, God doesn't love me.

Like many lies Satan tells us, they are grounded in truth.  Point number one is absolutely true.  God is powerful enough to do anything, including to prevent suffering in your life.  However, where the logic goes awry and breaks down is at point number two.  The lie satan tells us is that God cannot be loving if he allows us to suffer.  The truth is that God does love us and allows us to suffer for His glory and our own good.  This is in fact the promise of Romans 8:28, "That God works all things together for the good of those who love him and who have been called according to his purpose."  God, in his sovereign orchestration of your life, allows hardship to come into your life for your own maturity and Christ-likeness.

This is why James writes in his letter, "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness."  So what is the purpose of our suffering?  To make us more like Christ.  Our suffering then is a profound instrument of the grace of God.  It is a good gift, a tool, that develops us into faithful Christ-followers.  This is an incredibly hard truth to see in the middle of suffering.  With our eyes focus solely on the present, we have a hard time seeing how God is using our suffering for our good. However, with time comes wisdom.  Looking back, you will be able to see the finger prints of God's grace in the midst of your suffering.

With the logic of point number 2 proven to be a lie, point number 3 proves to be a lie as well.  Often times, the most loving thing God can do is allow us to suffer.  It is a good gift.  The problem is that we tend to have a different perspective than God on what is good.  Our definition of good is a comfortable, pleasant, easy life.  God's sees our good as doing whatever it takes to transform us by the grace of Christ.  The most loving thing God can do is bring things into our life that are difficult, but through that suffering God ignites a passion in our heart to trust him in the midst of suffering.  Often during those times of crisis, God deepens our faith and maturity in a way the best of times never can.

I'm not sure what hardship you are going through right now, but rest assure, that God is indeed working all things together for your good.  Glorify God in the midst of trails and cling to him as your only hope.  Trust in the truth of God's Word not your emotions.   God is rock who loves us and holds us firm, even in the face of the must horrendous suffering.  For the faithful Christian who lives his life for the glory of God and is dedicated to sharing the Gospel with others, persecution is promised by Jesus. We can take comfort in the sweet words Jesus spoke, "In this world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world" (John 16:33)

Take Comfort in God’s Power

The world we live in is a treacherous one. Tragedy will strike.  A loved one will get diagnosed with cancer, a friend dies unexpectedly in a car accident, or we find our selves laid off without any way to pay the bills.  So often events like these cause us wonder if God was sleeping when all these terrible events were happening.  How could God have let this happen? Is he really all powerful and all knowing?  These questions can rise up all too often in our minds.  As always, we can find answers in God’s word. In Isaiah 14, God begins to announce his oracles against the foreign nations who were enemies of Israel.  The next few chapters following chapter 14 of Isaiah are harsh judgements against these pagan nations for their treacherous idolatry and sin. However, in Isaiah 14:26-27 Isaiah makes a powerful statement about the sovereignty and power of God, even over the great nations of the earth.  Here is what he says:

 This is the purpose that is purposed concerning the whole earth, and this is the hand that is stretched out over all the nations.  For the Lord of hosts has purposed, and who will annul it? His hand is stretched out, and who will turn it back?

So often we forget that the God of the Bible is all powerful and all controlling over the history of the world. You see, God isn't caught off guard by anything that happens in your life. He isn't distracted or taking a cat nap when calamity strikes. Our God is a sovereign king and moving all things into motion according to his plan and purpose. Our God has the power to crush nations by the sheer force of his will. He knows all and controls all that happens in this world. God is not surprised by your circumstances, but rather he purposes them for your good and His glory (Rom 8:28).

Therefore, as we live our lives, let us rest in the complete sovereignty of God. When we are dealt a hand of suffering, let us rejoice because we know that "the testing of your faith produces steadfastness" (James 1:3). When we are out sharing the Gospel to friend we know that we are responsible to share it, but God is the one who saves a man's soul. When we are concerned about the state of national affairs, let us rest in the comfort of God's sovereignty to which nations are but mere drops in a bucket (Is 40:15).

Although suffering is not easy to endure, and the divine purpose of events are sometimes concealed from us, and take rest and comfort in the goodness and power of God's almighty will.

The Mystery of Christ

Philippians 2:5-11 is one of the most beautiful passage of Christ found in the New Testament, but it is also one of the most debated.  Paul's ultimate purpose in presenting this hymn is not to provide a clear, systematized theology of Christ, but to encourage to church at Philippi by providing an example of true service and humility.  However this passage does provide a wealth of information about who Jesus is.  Within these few verses several key doctrines about Christ are contained.  The first is that Jesus was God.  He was in "very nature God" or "in the form of God" (2:6).  However although Jesus was 100%, all the way God, he was 100%, all the way man.  Paul writes that Jesus "took on the very nature of a servant" that he humbled and was "made in human likeness."  When Jesus took on the form of a man, he did not become any less divine.  He did not drain the divinity out of himself, he simply took on the appearance of a man.  This idea may certainly seem hard to understand, and that's because it is!  But some things about God are a mystery to us and we can't understand them fully.  God's purposes are unique and mysterious.  Paul admits this in Ephesians 1:9 that God's will is a "mystery".

In all honesty, this is good news.  Who would want to follow a God in which you could completely figure out and understand?  That God certainly would not be a very big God, if my feeble, fragile, and incompetent mind could figure him out.  Our God is a God who's purposes and ways are not our own.  Although we can't fully understand what He has already done through redemptive history, or what He continues to do in our individual lives, we must always come to the conclusion that he is working all things together for his glory.  Even though His ways don't always make sense, or are even sometimes painful to us, we must rest in the sovereignty of God, and rejoice in the glory he revealed through the mystery of his beautiful son Jesus Christ.