I’m typically a pretty laid-back, easy-going kind of guy, which only makes fact that lately I have become rather easily frustrated all the more perplexing. It hasn’t even been over important issues. It’s been relatively little, non-life-changing things and with the people I care the most about, and it’s driving me nuts. My insides start churning and I get these little conversations gong in my head, it’s even kept me from falling asleep some nights.
So finally I asked God where this was coming from; I don’t like this, I don’t want to be like this, I can’t stop this – Help! I’m not sure what I was expecting but it certainly wasn’t what God gave me.
Frustration occurs when something we desire is somehow blocked, whether it’s a thing (tangible or intangible), a plan, or an action (initiating or ceasing). Normally we think that some person or circumstance is the cause of our frustration. But what God showed me is that the frustration of my desire was sent from him. Or if you’re not comfortable with that phraseology, he at times allows our desires to be frustrated. Why? First to remind us of what our primary desire should be: for Jesus. And second to sharpen that desire for Jesus. Let me illustrate.
If I have been sitting around the house all day just being lazy by supper time I’m usually not too hungry and not really interested in good healthy meal. And even if I do eat a good meal it may taste good but not spectacular. Conversely if I’ve been working all day, and haven’t had time to stop for lunch come supper time I’m looking for a real meal and the same food I would be ho-hum about other days now tastes fantastic.
Romans 8:22-25 talks about looking forward to heaven and speaks of eagerly anticipating that which we don’t yet have. You could say it’s sort of a holy frustration, a desire heightened and sharpened because it’s not yet met. The truth is any frustration, if we will humble our pride before God (see James 4:1-10), can lead us to the same outcome: a sharpened desire for intimacy with Jesus. That’s the sort of thing Paul is talking about back in Romans 8:28 when he says that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purposes.
So we can say thank you Father, for sending me frustration.