Anyone ever feel frustrated? So, I’m not the only one? We started the year (2018) without a kitchen sink. We had a leak beneath the foundation, which resulted in the kitchen plumbing having to be repaired. Since the cabinets were damaged, everything had to be replaced. We set up a card table in the half-bath, so we could wash dishes in the bathroom sink and have a place for them to dry. Since the kitchen was a wreck, the disorder quickly spread to the rest of the house. I became frustrated. When I was growing up, my mother would say, “however you start the year, that’s how your year will be.” I wish this were not the case. The kitchen is now fully repaired, but I still can't seem to get a handle on the house-keeping, and it is frustrating. Unfortunately, that’s not my only frustration, but I will spare you the list.
Over the years and the many conversations, I have learned to be thankful for my problems. A very wise person once said, “it could always be worse.” Sometimes we get caught up in our own situation(s) and forget to see how green our grass really is. We complain and huff, and shake our heads. Our prayers should always be prayers of thanksgiving. (I Thessalonians 5:18) We were without a kitchen, but thankful for an in-tact roof.
Frustration is that feeling we get when our plans do not succeed in our desired time. It’s a common feeling. Even Jesus expressed frustration. Matthew tells us that as the day of the Crucifixion was approaching many things were happening. Jesus was with the disciples and believed that one of them would betray Him. After the Last Supper, Jesus asked the disciples to, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” (Matthew 26:36) Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” (Matthew 26:40) He doesn’t say, you guys make me so frustrated, but we can sense His frustration. It’s like when I ask my son to take out the trash, then come back in an hour and it hasn't been done—definitely frustration.
One response to frustration is complaining. We need only to read the first few books of the Bible to see examples of complaining. The Israelites complained, for years, as Moses tried to lead them to the land of milk and honey. They weren’t moving fast enough; they doubted they would ever reach the new land; they even thought returning to slavery would be better than continuing their trek. They weren’t willing to accept God’s plan, they wanted to progress by their own plans. Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us to, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
As we think on our own frustrations for a moment, remember there are three possible answers to our prayers. God may tell us YES. :-) He may say NO, and He may say WAIT. It’s that WAIT response that makes us antsy. The wait can lead to frustration and complaining. Usually God’s “wait” is not also accompanied by a specific timeframe. God is the God of forever, so waiting can seem endless, it can seem like a response of NO. How can we tell? We must continue to pray—and those prayers should not be a monologue of our own voice, we must be still and listen for His “gentle whisper.” (I Kings 19:12)
A few additional scriptures to encourage you during times of frustration:
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Peter 5:6-7 NIV
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
Hebrews 12:1 NIV
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
Revelation 22:13 NIV
I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
Thank you for reading!
Copyright 2018 Kimberly Griffith Anderson
If you like this style of writing, you will enjoy Turn North: A 30-Day Devotional and Journal written by the author of this blog.