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We all ask ourselves what’s the meaning of toil, hardship, and pain. It’s not enough to know that this world isn’t our home. After all, we’re still “stuck” here for however long we live. We need to make the best of a bad situation. Or not. The choice, really is, up to you.

Often, people use the problems of this world as proof that God isn’t all-loving. But, I think, that discounts our free will.

When a parent tells a child not to touch the stove because it’s hot, does that lessen the want? We, as humans, learn by doing, by example, by studying. However, we have a stubborn streak…or can. When someone tells you that you can’t do something, what’s your first reaction? Mine often is to prove that I can.

If a child tries to touch a hot stove, a parent will stop them. When the parent isn’t around, who’s going to stop the child? Only the child can.

Okay, bad example since God is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent, but I think (I hope) it serves to point to a deeper truth. God lets us exercise our free will. His perfect love has fashioned us with desires and dreams. Our free will allows us to attain those things however we see fit.

We can touch the hot stove, even while God watches.

Yes, there are laws (moral, civil, ethical), but we can still break them. We need only follow those things that we feel pertain to us. Why? Why aren’t we all forced to choose a STEM major or to give to charity or to work 50 hours a week?

We can choose any of those things. But we don’t have to. We can get a liberal arts degree or drop out of high school, horde our money under a mattress or place it in the stock market, and we can work as many hours as we choose or that are necessary for us to survive or until we’ve gotten everything off our wish lists.

You’re probably wondering, if God could create a perfect Earth, an Eden, why doesn’t He create paradise? Why let us squander the beauty and majesty of our planet, our lives? Remember, we chose this.

Okay, maybe not you, specifically; when Adam and Eve first turned away from God in the Garden of Eden, they let sin enter into the world. And we’ve been choosing it over God ever since.

So, yes, there might be a lot of bad in this world; however, we can choose to do good. It may only be a small thing each day, but it might make a huge difference to someone down the road…even if you never see it. Our choices more than our words reflect who we are and what we value.