When life is hard: Part 1 - Hope 103.2

When life is hard: Part 1

Morning Devotions is for those curious about the Christian faith and who want to explore Christian issues that relate to their daily life.

By Chris WittsSunday 21 Jul 2013Morning Devotions with Chris WittsLifeReading Time: 0 minutes


Back in 2006,a good movie came out of the US called “Last Holiday”. Maybe you saw it when it was released. It stars actress Queen Latifah as Georgia Byrd who sings in a church choir. One day she suddenly  discovers she has only 3 weeks to live. So,she travels to enjoy life as much as possible,especially  eating as much nice food as she can. But before Georgia resolves to enjoy her last days on earth,she goes through a predictable crisis,wondering why God has let this terrible thing happen to her. In one scene,she’s standing in her place in the church choir,when she begins calling out to God,”Why,Lord? Why me?” The choir,not knowing what’s going on with Georgia,begins to join in,as if she were merely leading them in a song,and soon they’re singing a rousing anthem with the “Why me?” theme. But Georgia doesn’t get her answer from the Lord,and leaves the church disappointed and  downhearted.

Queen Latifah’s ability to play this “Why me?” role isn’t just a matter of good  acting. In fact,she had a tough life growing up in a single-parent household,living in a New Jersey housing project. But hardest of all was an experience when she was 22 years old. Queen Latifah’s singing career had begun to take off,and so she bought a motorcycle for her 24-year-old brother,Lancelot. But two months later he died in a motorcycle accident.  In a recent interview,Queen Latifah,who is open about her Christian faith,  was asked if she had ever had a “Why me?” moment in her own life. “Yes” she said,”I did. Why my brother.. why my Dad? He was such a good person”. I think many people know what it’s like to face this sort of pain and to ask the “Why?” question ….Maybe you’ve lost loved ones in ways that made no sense at all. And,even if you haven’t known the extreme agony of this sort,you’ve gone through other sorts of hard times when you’ve cried out to God,”Why? Why me?” All of us have watched in horror as innocent people are destroyed by natural disasters or devastating illness. If we’re at all sensitive to what’s going on around us,we can’t help but wonder why. Why is life so hard? Can we find God in the midst of a hard life? That’s a question worth exploring..

Some people say there is no God. If you don’t believe in a God who created the universe,then the why question isn’t a particularly tricky one at all. Life is hard because that’s the way it is. There’s no reason that we should expect better. Tsunamis,hurricanes,earthquakes,cancer,HIV,starvation – these are naturally occurring events that need no explanation. The universe is random,so bad things happen. We should expect them and find a way to make the best of life anyway.

For Christians,this atheistic answer is not  satisfactory,though I expect most of us have wrestled with it at one time or another,especially when it seems like the suffering in this world is inconsistent with the existence of God. Yet the “no God” argument has fatal flaws,in my view,even apart from my Christian faith. Most of all,the godless randomness of nature doesn’t adequately explain the existence of good in our world,or the fact that there is beauty which we can enjoy. I just can’t believe that the haphazard movements of particles and molecules have produced morally and aesthetically sensitive beings.

Then there’s the “Bad God” Answer – If the “no God” answer doesn’t work,some have tried the “bad God” approach. Many who accept the existence of “higher powers” don’t have a problem with life being hard because they believe in morally ambiguous gods,or even outright bad gods. Life is hard because the bad gods send famine or disease or other tragedies. Life is hard because the good gods aren’t fully in charge. But Christianity says differently – we believe in a God of love. In a similar way,some have argued that the one God is not  fully good either. This would certainly account for why there is pain in the world. But,without going into detail,it’s obvious that the “bad God” perspective is inconsistent with Christianity,which teaches emphatically that the one eternal God is a loving God. Tomorrow I want to take this a step further.