Can you rank these hardships?
- loss of bodily function, i.e. due to illness or injury
- abusive parent, i.e. physically and/or street dog mean
- betrayal, i.e. by someone you trusted, friend, spouse, often followed by abandonment
- economic hardship, i.e. seeing years of hard work vanish
- death of a close loved one, i.e. spouse, parent, or child, they are irreplaceable
- unrealized hopes, i.e. never even getting the things others dread to lose
I can’t rank them, and there are probably more that could be added to the list. Just like with physical pain, each person’s loss is particularly his or her own. It is his or her heart that feels like it is being crushed, his or her tears that are wrenched from the insides. And it is that person that needs to choose how the hardship is going to impact the rest of life.
Observation in this fallen world shows that every person will sooner or later experience some sort of potentially devastating loss. If nothing else, everyone you know will eventually die. These are the brutal facts. We are all helped by comfort when we must face horrible difficulties, but I see no basis for claiming that a certain category of hardship legitimizes special rights to be angry and demanding of unique recognition.
There are understandably distinct qualities common to types of hardship. These can be starting points for learning to trust your Creator on a deeper level or they can be used as excuses for manipulating others. I think part of the challenge with accepting hardships is admitting our own sin is instrumental in causing them. This is not to say that we directly cause all the bad things in our lives, but that every person begins with a sinful heart, thus sin is in the world, affecting it until the final redemption of creation.
I rejoice greatly with the freedom that I have from sin due to the sacrifice and power of Jesus Christ, but I accept that my sin is part of the whole mess. I am not an innocent bystander, just a saved one. By the grace of God, I will not let my hardships make me hard and selfish toward other people or my God.
Suggestion for reading: The Quest for Cosmic Justice