An Analysis of Hardship in Life

CA. Shikha (Chartered Accountant) (4143 Points)

18 October 2009  

An Analysis of Hardship in LifeA fact of human life is that from time to time we face difficulties. These can be small day to day annoyances or calamities that push our patience and will power to their limits. Sometimes it is hard for a person to understand the reasons behind these horrible events, especially when he/she knows that there is a God maintaining order in the universe and Who is merciful. In such a situation a person may even resent God and ask why He is making life so difficult, especially when He is supposed to love His devoted servants.

It is important to remember that when making a judgment about a situation we should think about whether or not we have enough knowledge to do so. Something that is bad in our minds may actually be good, and we may only think it is bad because of our limited perception and knowledge. For example, imagine a person who has lived all his life in a rain forest. He has no knowledge of technology or civilizations and only knows what he has learned from experience and from those around him. If we were to take him and bring him to the city and showed him skyscrapers, cars, and computers, he would be overwhelmed and overawed by the extravagance. Now, if he were to be taken past a construction site where cranes and bulldozers were demolishing a building, he would think that something bad was being done. In his mind the construction workers would be destroying a perfectly good building for no reason at all, and this act would be considered senseless by him. But he is not aware that the old building is being torn down so that a better one can be erected in its place, and if he knew this, he would not think badly of the construction workers for tearing down the old building. He would be happy that they are bringing something better and would now consider the destruction of the old building as something good and necessary. The hardship that the people living around the site must bear by having to look at the ugly torn down building for months, having their streets closed down and traffic tied up, is only something temporary. Some people may actually curse the construction workers for bringing this hardship on them but they are not keeping in mind that these hardships will be followed by ease and improvement. Instead of viewing these things as hardship and becoming annoyed and angry, one could see them as a sign that soon there will be ease and progress.

An artist can relate to having people look at his work in its beginning or middle stages, and without knowing what the end product will be, they give unwarranted criticism. That is when he asks them to wait for when it is finished. In the beginning or in the middle the work may not be pleasing or have much meaning, but once it is completed then everyone can see what he was working towards. We humans can only attain such a limited amount of knowledge in our lives. So how can we look at a hurricane, tornado, flood, Tsunami or volcano and blame God that He is doing something cruel and unjust? How can we know what His ultimate purpose is for all of these happenings? In the same way that the man from the rain forest would be unjustified in viewing the demolition of old buildings as wrong, we would be unjustified to view the calamities of nature as cruel acts of God.

There was once a king who put his subjects through a test. He went out onto the main road of his kingdom and he had a large stone placed in the middle, thereby making the road difficult to cross. After having placed the large stone he hid himself nearby to watch the reaction of the people. He saw the dignitaries of his court and the wealthy cross by, and as they did so they managed it only with great difficulty. While they did so, they cursed the rock and said to each other, why doesn't the King move this rock? All of the wealthy aristocrats went along in the same manner, cursing the rock and wondering in amazement at the incompetence of the King to have placed such an obstacle in their path, because it only brought them hardship. Then along came a poor old man carrying a heavy load on his back, and the King watched him intently. The old man stopped in his tracks and looked at how the stone was blocking the road. He put down his load and began, with great difficulty and tremendous effort, to move the stone off of the road. Using all his strength and ability he finally accomplished his task. When he went back to the road and looked at the spot where the stone had been, he saw a bag, picked it up, opened it, and found it to be full of jewels and a note from the King indicating that the jewels was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway. The old man learned what many others never understand. He placed his load on his back along with his new treasure and went on his way. This story illustrates a fact of life, that there is no ease or success or progress or elevation without some sacrifice and hardship along the way. But once the end is reached that hardship would no longer be seen as unbearable.

Moral: Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve one's condition.