Life Is Hard. Jesus Doesn’t Make It Easier. by Collin Hansen for The Gospel Coalition
Did you know life was going to be this hard? I must have missed all the school assemblies devoted to disappointment and failure. I don’t remember any class on how to adult. At least sports were somewhat realistic. Neither the teams I rooted for nor the teams I played on experienced much success. More often than the thrill of victory I knew the agony of defeat. But ecstasy usually chased agony with a trip to McDonald’s for french fries and a McFlurry. Ah, the wonders of an 18-year-old metabolism.
A little later on I recited the vows. Better or worse. Richer or poorer. In sickness and in health. But how was I supposed to know what any of this meant at 22 years old? You’re too young to even understand you’re poor. Sickness? At our age? That only happens in summer blockbusters young men are obligated to take their girlfriends to see.
When life seems worse than expected, we’re told, “It gets better.”
But what if it doesn’t?
You need more than a cliché when real life dawns. Because life is hard. You don’t always know what will get you. You just know something will. Addiction. Depression. Unemployment. Student loans. Rejection. For me the hardship came in threes, one after the other: I couldn’t find a job. My wife and I couldn’t conceive a child. We lost much of our savings in the Great Recession.
I didn’t know if we were going to be okay. Nothing had been promised to me. Not the job I pursued after three years of additional graduate education. I left wonderful co-workers to follow what I thought to be God’s call. But what did I have to show for it? I hadn’t been promised a child, either. I wondered if my wife and I had waited too long. It seemed so easy for all our friends and family. They wanted a child, they got a child . . . or two or three or four. I wasn’t promised financial security. We made the right decision to buy a house. Until it wasn’t the right decision anymore. In fact it was the kind of decision you make at 23 that still haunts you at 33. And with student loans on top of it all, and no promise of a lucrative career, I didn’t know how to provide for the kids we couldn’t have.