A dear friend asked me today why life has to be so hard. I think that people typically expect some sort of profound spiritual wisdom from me, although I’m not really sure why. But I had nothing. So I gave a quick “well, without the hard times, you probably wouldn’t appreciate the easy times as much” response and we moved on. But all day that question has lingered in my head.
My heart aches to see my friend hurting, and I want to have an answer that will take the pain away. I want to know as much for myself as for my friend. But the day is getting away from me and still I have no answer. What I have are my words, which are a meager offering at best, but it’s all that I have:
My Beloved Friend,
Life is hard and I don’t really know why.
I think it’s hard because we’re human…and we’re in relationships with other humans… and all humans make mistakes.
Sometimes we make our own mistakes that leave us hurting. And unfortunately, sometimes we are hurt by mistakes that other people make. And those ones are really bad because it’s not our fault and it hurts a million times worse to be hurt by someone that you trust.
As humans, we all have a tendency to do things that feel good in the moment instead of doing things that are good for us in the long run. We make decisions that are selfish with little regard for how it will affect others. We want instant gratification which often satisfies us for a short time, but leaves us longing for something more. We choose to fill our lives with things that can only fill us temporarily instead of choosing things that will fulfill us for a lifetime. We get caught up with keeping up – which leaves us discontent with what we have because someone else has something better. It’s because we have these tendencies and behaviors, or because someone else does, that life is hard.
And life is hard because we are human…and we love other humans…and that makes us vulnerable.
It makes us vulnerable because when we love someone else, we expect for that love to be returned to us in full. And when our expectation isn’t met because there is only a partial return or sometimes no return at all, that hurts. It leaves us feeling exposed and broken and sometimes we get stuck there for a minute. And when we’re stuck there in that valley of brokenness and despair, life is hard.
But there is hope, my sweet friend. It says in Psalm 23:4 that even though you walk through the darkest valley, there is still hope for a day that you will not be in despair. There is hope for happy days spent in fields of green grass, taking restful walks beside quiet streams. And hope for days that your soul and your life will be refreshed and you will feel safe again.
So, yes. Life is hard. It’s hard right now because you’re in a valley. But the good news is that you won’t be in the valley forever. Some day soon you will be out and heading to a hilltop, or a beach or the woods or wherever it is that your heart will be happy again.
I know this to be true because I’ve spent time in the valley myself. It’s a lot of work to get out since it’s all uphill…but the journey upwards is the most rewarding journey there is.
I love you, my friend.