Life is full of frustrating situations - - something or someone doesn’t arrive on time, stuck in traffic, an expected cheque doesn’t arrive, the bank makes a mistake on my account, I receive an invoice for something I’ve already paid, anticipated enjoyments turn out to be disappointing, so very many upsetting things which I cannot control. Think about it. Frustration does not come from outside but from inside - - something in me is triggered. Could it be because - - -? Let’s leave that contemplation for now and look at a few well-known cases of frustration. Notice how frustration usually leads us to blame others.
King Saul (1 Samuel 13:11-12) was frustrated because Samuel doesn’t show up when Saul expected him. Saul turned outrageously against God and blamed Samuel for his sin because Samuel was not there in time to prevent his sin.
Absalom was so frustrated because King David did nothing about the rape (2 Samuel 13:6-14) of Tamar, he murdered Amnon (2 Samuel 13:28), then he rebelled against the king and tried to murder his father (2 Samuel 15:14) and take over the kingdom.
Mary and Joseph (Luke 2:48) were frustrated because Jesus was missing and blamed Him for delaying them.
Martha was frustrated because (Luke 10:40) Mary left her on her own to prepare the meal so she blamed Jesus for not caring that she was stuck with all the work.
Martha and Mary in their grief were frustrated (John 11:21,32) that Jesus wasn’t there when they thought He should be, so they blamed Him for their brother’s death - - “IF You had been here.”
Paul and Barnabas: Barnabas was a patient man, always taking the time to encourage and comfort. Paul was a brilliant scholar and was accepted into rabbinical school when he was 14 years old. He was taught by Gamaliel, the most respected and admired teacher and rabbi in Israel. Paul wanted every ‘I’ dotted, every ‘T’ crossed and right on time. Barnabas was frustrated because Paul didn’t show more compassion and Paul was frustrated because Mark turned tail and ran home. The contention was so great (Acts 15:39) they parted and went their separate ways.
We learn from these that frustration can lead to dreadful consequences.
Why do we feel frustrated? What is inside that seems to be so often triggered? Could it be that my focus is wrong? Could it be that I want to control certain situations, am hindered through no fault of my own from something I want to achieve, banking on the timing I have set for my plans and appointments? You can see a lot of me and my circumstances in those questions but can you see God? Sadly, He is missing when I want to control.
Did Jesus ever encounter frustrating situations? Yes, many. Was He ever frustrated? No, never.
His own mother, kinsmen and friends (Mark 3:21,32) said He was out of His mind. If He had let frustration upset and frazzle His mind, He could not have continued to do the works of God.
James and John (Luke 9:54) still didn’t get it but Jesus didn’t give up on them because He had awesome plans for them. He refused to let the upsetting present destroy the glorious future.
He came unto His own and (John 8:59) they tried to stone Him but instead of being frustrated by them, He went on (John 9:1) to heal a blind man. Can we really have victory over frustration and learn to live without it?
Let’s go on a mining exploration, we’ll take a trip to a very deep mine (Philippians 4:4-7) and dig out some of the priceless treasures.
Be anxious for nothing. Are you kidding? Who said that - - some fat cat living in luxury? Actually, spoken by a man who had endured much hardship including being stoned (Acts 14:19) and left for dead, beaten several times (2 Corinthians 11:23-27) suffered shipwreck three times and much more. He wrote those words “Be anxious for nothing” from the prison where he was in chains.
How do we get to that level where he was? Keep digging - - this is a rich mine. BY PRAYER. Think with me. Can a life that is bathed with prayer be triggered into frustration? What kind or quality of prayer? IN EVERTHING GIVE THANKS. He really did say everything didn’t he? So back to Philippians 4:5 – the Lord is at hand. To me that means more than the future Rapture. That means that right now the Lord is right here.
Do I really want God’s sovereign control in every aspect and circumstance of my life? Do I really believe that He is working all things for His good purpose to make me like Jesus? If so, how could anything upset me? Am I missing something? Let’s look to Jesus again.
We are told (Hebrews 5:8) that Jesus learned obedience through the things he suffered. That sounds shocking. Was He disobedient before? Of course not but whom does God obey? In His humanity Jesus had to learn the many things all children learn. He learned to obey by coming when His mother called Him for lunch, when Joseph told Him to learn and help in the carpenter shop, He obeyed etc. By the time He was 12 years old (Luke 2:49) He realized that He must be about His Father’s business (that’s what He was all about) and that meant obedience to His Father no matter the cost. What did Jesus have that was greater than any frustration trigger within Him? We need to go back to the mine and we’ll discover even richer veins. The (Philippians 4:7) PEACE OF GOD. Because Jesus obeyed and lived in an attitude of prayer, God’s very own peace guarded His heart and mind so that any and every circumstance always brought triumph and never frustration. WOW! So where do we go now? Come on, there’s a tunnel that leads to another part of the mine. Look – Jesus is here. Listen to what He Is Saying (John 14:27) “MY PEACE I leave with you”, MY VERY OWN PEACE I give unto you. The same peace of God which caused Jesus to triumph in and through anything, all the time, everywhere – is the very same peace He has given to us. I want to live in the victory of His peace and not be triggered into frustration because I’m not in control.
The Lord Jesus is calling the shots and there is nothing I will ever encounter that He cannot handle.
I’m beginning to see frustration in a whole new light. My inner trigger is the desire of my flesh to control the situation. When that desire is thwarted it triggers frustration and anger looking for someone to blame. Frustration is not created by external circumstances outside of me but by a carnal desire within me to control.
STOP! - - RED LIGHT!
If I allow frustration it can lead to idolatrous self-pity. What happened to (Philippians 2:5) Let the mind of Christ be in you? WARNING - - If I am right in my SELF-pity God has to be wrong in what He allowed. This attitude is deeply sinful idolatry!
My mind can be a playground for Satan or a parking lot for the flesh or an ever-expanding treasure chest overflowing with the beautiful jewels (Philippians 4:8) and gold nuggets discovered all through God’s Word.
When things are totally out of my control there is not the slightest possibility that God has lost control. I think it would be a great idea/choice/determination to relax and leave everything to Him.
“Jesus I am resting, RESTING in the joy of what Thou art”.
That Thou couldst love me and yet be the very God Thou art
Is darkness to my intellect but sunshine to my heart.
As we look around this wicked world and see evil, violence, cruelty and injustice increase every day, perhaps fear will attempt to partner with frustration and disturb our minds. Here are just a few verses we should consider carefully and thoroughly imbibe.
Proverbs 8:15 – By Me Kings are set up.
Romans 13:1 – There is no power but of God. The powers that be are ordained by God.
Isaiah 40:15 – Behold the nations are as a drop in a bucket.
Job 12:10 – In God’s hand is the soul of every living thing and the breath of all mankind.
Daniel 2:21 – God changes the times and seasons. He removes king and sets up kings.
Daniel 4:26 – The Heavens do rule.
Psalms 33:10-11 – God will bring the counsel of the nations to nothing and make the plans of men of no effect. But His Counsel will stand forever and His plans through all generations.
We can trace the Divine strategy of Sovereign wisdom from the dawn of creation and we know it will culminate in the coronation of the King of all Kings.
FEAR NOT (John 16:33) Be of good cheer I have overcome the world.