To ease removal/installation use your lift to position the wheel so it is barely in contact with the ground. You may use a mallet to help get the axle started on it's way if needed, but only sparingly and never on the threaded end...use a pointed drift in the center of the axle instead.
Going back together rarely needs that much effort and again use a rubber mallet only if needed. A skim coat of grease on the shaft will help. The most likely culprit for difficulty will be the right-side lower leg where the pinch bolt clamps the axle shaft, followed by simple misalignment of the hub.