When Life Doesn’t Make Sense

Sometimes we struggle to understand the events of our lives. When life is difficult, how can we make sense of what doesn’t seem to make sense?

There are things in life that we have just accepted—difficult things, unfair things, tragic things for which we have no explanation. But the time may come when we’re forced to confront these questions. When troubles strike close to home, we may either accept the fact that we have no answers or perhaps come up with answers that may later be proved wrong. That takes us back to square one. Is it possible to find the answers we need?

Why do we face adversity no matter how careful we may be in life? Adversity sometimes enters our lives by circumstances beyond our control. Sometimes it comes because of our own mistakes or the mistakes of others.

Yet some seem to sail through life with no troubles. This is particularly irksome when they are proud, selfish or cruel people. Why do bad people become prosperous? Why do good people sometimes face so many trials?

The Bible records people of God who faced similar questions about things that didn’t make sense. Asaph wrote, “But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled; my steps had nearly slipped. For I was envious of the boastful, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. …

“Behold, these are the ungodly, who are always at ease; they increase in riches. Surely I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocence. For all day long I have been plagued, and chastened every morning” (Psalm 73:2-3, 12-14).

What’s it all about?

Is life just about being born; growing up; struggling through life; and laboring just to have a plate of food in front of you, a roof over your head and clothes on your back? You grow old and die and that is your end. Why did you come into existence in the first place?

What is the purpose of life anyway?

An elaborate experiment

Solomon, one of the wisest men who ever lived (1 Kings 4:29-30), sought to understand many of these questions. He tried to find answers to life’s enigmas by experimenting with every form of pleasure (Ecclesiastes 2:1). He tried alcohol (verse 3). He tried beautiful gardens with plenty of fruit (verse 5). He acquired vast wealth (verse 7). No CDs or DVDs were available then, but he had the real thing—live music whenever he wanted (verse 8)!

In the end, this wise man came to a conclusion well worth our consideration: “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter [all the things he tried]: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).

Solomon’s conclusion? Even though there will inevitably be difficulties, life can make sense when we live according to God’s instruction—when we live by every word that comes from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4).

The instruction manual

In our advanced age (compared to Solomon’s day), almost every gadget imaginable on the market comes with an instruction manual from the manufacturer. The expectation is that, as long as the buyers pay attention and follow the manufacturer’s instructions, they will get satisfactory performance from their gadget.

Scripture makes it clear that there is more to life than being born, struggling through life, growing old and dying. Don’t you think it’s time for each of us to find out what our purpose is and strive to fulfill it?God created human beings and sent along an instruction manual for us—the Bible. That Word of God records what ancient King Solomon discovered about life. God reveals the answers to life when it does not make sense.

Scripture illustrates God’s supreme authority over all that He created (Isaiah 46:10). Proving His existence and the validity of His Word points us toward the very answers we seek. God has a grand scheme for human life! Scripture makes it clear that there is more to life than being born, struggling through life, growing old and dying. Don’t you think it’s time for each of us to find out what our purpose is and strive to fulfill it?

Where to start to make sense of it all

How can we address the Creator God with our questions? He says we can pray to Him; and He promises to answer (Philippians 4:6-7; James 1:5-6).

God answers us through the Bible—the instruction manual for His human creation. It tells us God’s beneficial way to live. In the long run, following His commandments produces good results—blessings (Deuteronomy 28:1-14). Disobedience produces bad results—curses (verses 15-68).

But what about those times when the wicked prosper and the good suffer? The Bible addresses this as well, showing how evil entered the world, why blessings and curses can be delayed and why the good suffer. The Bible even explains the benefits that can come through trials.

As Asaph, quoted earlier in this article, came to understand, it is a matter of striving to see things from God’s eternal perspective.

“When I thought how to understand this, it was too painful for me—until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I understood their end. …

“Thus my heart was grieved, and I was vexed in my mind. … Nevertheless I am continually with You; You hold me by my right hand. You will guide me with Your counsel, and afterward receive me to glory” (Psalm 73:16-17, 21, 23-24; see “Why Am I Suffering?” for more on this perspective).

Let God give you wisdom to find answers to your questions.

Then life will make sense.

Here are some resources to help you find answers:

About the Author

Harris Hlazo

Harris Hlazo is an elder of the Church of God, a Worldwide Association, serving in Zimbabwe.

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