difficult times

Why Is Life So Difficult Sometimes?

posted in: Faithfulness, Grace, Hope, Perseverence | 0

Admittedly, there are days when I say to myself, “I can’t do this. The mountain in front of me is way too big to climb.” I strongly suspect that I am not alone in thinking this way. We all have days—maybe even seasons—when life seems really hard.

When faced with such difficulties, we have a tendency to think that God is far away. After all, Christians should be “more than conquerors in Christ” (Romans 8:37). If we aren’t triumphantly pouncing over all of our obstacles, God is probably giving His attention to someone more worthy. Or so we think.

What we fail to realize is that the very same apostle—Paul—who called us more than conquerors also wrote about the extreme difficulties that he faced:

For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life . . . 2 Corinthians 1:8 (NASB)

These hardly sound like the words of a spiritual champion. Furthermore, we have to ask why God will allow any of us, let alone Paul, to go through such extreme personal difficulties. Once again, Paul provides not only the answers that we need, but also the inspiration to continue on:

. . . indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead; who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope. 2 Corinthians 1:9-10 (NASB)

Three important ideas come to mind as I read the latter half of this passage:

1.  Self-trust is our deadly enemy. God often allows extreme difficulty because we have much to gain by learning to trust Him rather than our own selves.

2.  We have reason to hope. He is our sure deliverer.

3.  God’s grace is always sufficient. He is always faithful to provide the strength that we need in times of weakness.

Grace has many awesome dimensions that we tend to overlook. Not only does grace favor us, and not only does it empower us to supernaturally serve God, grace also gives us the strength to make it through really difficult days.

It’s all part of what some people call “the Divine exchange.” We give God all of our crud, and He gives us life, hope, peace, and . . . . He also transforms our hearts and makes them to be more useful for His eternal purposes.

As much as we all want to take wing and glide over each and every difficulty, there are times when we must walk through them, step by painful step. As we look to our Savior and draw upon His grace, we are mysteriously changed. Our pride is brought low, our hearts are softened, and our faith is solidified.

As much as my human flesh would prefer to live on Easy Street, I’d rather be numbered as an overcomer—a faithful child of God who serves His honor and glory no matter how dark circumstances look.

One day, in retrospect, it will all make sense. Difficult times provide the opportunity for His amazing grace to be manifested in amazing ways.

As Frederick Buechner once stated so profoundly, “Resurrection means the worst thing is never the last thing.”