Why do we face so many difficulties in life? No doubt, you and your friends can come up with a list of personal experiences that is filled with pain, sorrow, heartache, and loss. On that list might be financial devastation, serious illness, or loss of a child. Certain events changed your life forever.
Why does a loving God allow this to happen?
In Deuteronomy 1:19 Moses said, “So we departed from Horeb, and went through all that great and terrible wilderness which you saw on the way…” His reference is to Israel’s journey from Sinai to the edge of Canaan. It was a hard trip. If you have never been there, you cannot realize how difficult it was. There is almost nothing except rock and sand. It is truly a “great and terrible wilderness.” See more images below.
Why did God not just transport Israel from Egypt to Canaan or from Horeb to Canaan?
In part, God was helping the people to develop a desire for something better; for the land flowing with milk and honey. They needed to feel the deprivation of the desert and cultivate a longing for the Promised Land.
While Israel did want better circumstances, they flinched when the spies returned (Deut. 1:26-33; Num. 13:26-14:10). Their fear of the inhabitants and fortified cities overpowered their desire to receive the blessings of the land. Thus, God forbade them from entering and doomed them to 40 years of wandering and death in that “great and terrible wilderness” (Deut. 1:34-40; Num. 14:26-38).
How long shall I bear with this evil congregation who complain against Me?… The carcasses of you who have complained against Me shall fall in this wilderness, all of you who were numbered, according to your entire number, from twenty years old and above (Num. 14:27, 29).
One reason God allows us to endure hardships is to help us develop a yearning for heaven. He gives us many blessings in life that are enjoyable. If we did not have difficulties and loss, we would want to stay here forever. As we experience troubles we must remind ourselves a place of no trouble awaits (Rev. 21:4).
The troubles of life are compounded in one sense as a child of God. Not only must we face the reality of living in this world, but we must also experience the unique challenges of being a child of God. Israel was to take Canaan in a military conquest, but refused to go in. Christians are to fight the good fight of faith (1 Tim. 6:12). This brings conflict with others; persecution, loss, and sorrow. We cannot allow this daunting task to keep us from pressing forward, but trust that God will be with us (Phil. 4:13; Heb. 13:5, 6).
Let us not be like the Israel and complain. Rather, let us have faith in God and a burning desire for eternal life with Him.
Pictures of Sinai Desert Taken On Trip In 2008