Invitations and Warnings
The Qur'an says:
Except whom your Lord has given mercy, and for that He created them. But the word of your Lord is to be fulfilled that, "I will surely fill Hell with jinn and men all together." (Al Qur'an 11:119)
Read the first part carefully. Allah created us with and for His mercy, only if we believe and show thanks and gratitude. In here, also is a warning. What happens if we do not accept the message?
As human beings, will go through two elements in life: invitation to guidance, and if we accept and obey, we are on the right path. We are on the path of rahmah. Even if we make mistakes or commit sins, He wants us to keep staying on the right path.
If we deviate from the path, after He gave us guidance and He showed us His way, what will happen?
And we will surely let them taste the nearer punishment short of the greater punishment that perhaps they will repent. (Al Qur'an 32:21)
And of the people is he who worships Allah on an edge. If he is touched by good, he is reassured by it; but if he is struck by trial, he turns on his face [to the other direction]. He has lost [this] world and the Hereafter. That is what is the manifest loss. He invokes instead of Allah that which neither harms him nor benefits him. That is what is the extreme error. He invokes one whose harm is closer than his benefit - how wretched the protector and how wretched the associate. (Al Qur'an 22:11 – 22:13)
This means that if we have deviated from the road of guidance, but Allah still loves us, He will show us the way again so that we can get back on track. But at the same time, if He loves us, He will give us calamities, hardships and trials. These are not to destroy us, but to wake us up and correct our navigation system. In short, these obstacles in life, is His way of reminding us to stop, slow down and come back to His way.
If Allah does not love us, He will either let us continue going astray in our own path of destruction, or He will give us a series of messages: calamities, hardships and trials to wake up and get back to Him. Those who do not have the humbleness and humility to seek the guidance and wisdom from their Lord, will not change their ways and will continue being on the wrong path. They will lose their dunia and akhirah.
Hence, every bitterness or calamity is designed by Allah to make us turn back towards Him. It is not a torment from Allah, in fact it is a blessing if the resulting action is that we return to Him and mend your ways. However, if we don't heed the warning behind each calamity, the following one will increase in severity until we get the message. Either that, or He will open the door of material life and immerse you in the distractions, seductions and corruptions of dunia until you lose your spiritual bearings and drown in dunia.
Consider the following verses, and they will illustrate the above points:
Corruption has appeared throughout the land and sea by [reason of] what the hands of people have earned so He may let them taste part of [the consequence of] what they have done that perhaps they will return [to righteousness]. (Al Qur'an 30:41)
And whatever strikes you of disaster - it is for what your hands have earned; but He pardons much. (Al Qur'an 42:30)
We will never attain the level of a messenger, prophet or angel. Our lives will continue to challenge us, and we will continue to battle our desires, whispers of Shaitan, temptations and struggle on the road of guidance. Sometimes the road is smooth sailing, and sometimes, we encounter obstacles, hardship or even commit mistakes and sins. All these occur for Allah to put us through a trial and check our reaction: whether we will despair or whether we will go back to Him.