1. Feeling or expressing distress and annoyance, especially because of inability to change or achieve something.
Everybody is familiar with this emotion. Especially if you are struggling with an addiction or any life issue that seems to hang on. I’m sure there have been plenty of screams, a few holes punched in walls, quite a few gasps of exasperation, even a few heated discussions with God… “God, WHY DON’T YOU SET ME FREE FROM THIS STUFF!!! I want to stop, I know You want me to stop, my spouse wants me to stop, WHY AM I STILL STRUGGLING?!”
Why? Wouldn’t it make sense for God to just instantly deliver us from whatever struggle we are in that doesn’t honor Him? Doesn’t He ask us to live a life that does honor Him?
Here is one thing the Bible says about frustration:
Romans 8:19-21 (NIV) “The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.”
I like how The Message translation says it: “All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it’s not only around us; it’s within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.”
God is taking us through a transformation process. Changing us from the person that trusts and depends on ourselves (which is the sinful nature) to a more Christ like person that reflects the nature of God that we were created to have. But why can’t He instantly create that character in us? Because if He did, we would more than likely not ultimately acknowledge what Paul says in Romans 7:13-20.
“I can already hear your next question: ‘Does that mean I can’t even trust what is good [that is, the law]? Is good just as dangerous as evil?’ No again! Sin simply did what sin is so famous for doing: using the good as a cover to tempt me to do what would finally destroy me. By hiding within God’s good commandment, sin did far more mischief than it could ever have accomplished on its own. I can anticipate the response that is coming: ‘I know that all God’s commands are spiritual, but I’m not. Isn’t this also your experience?” Yes. I’m full of myself—after all, I’ve spent a long time in sin’s prison. What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise. So if I can’t be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God’s command is necessary.
But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.’” (MSG)
If God doesn’t re-wire our thinking and our way of processing things, we simply just can’t comprehend the right way. Because of our nature to want to do things that are what we think are “self serving” we don’t even fully realize that the best way to serve our selves is to deny ourselves what our corrupt brain thinks is best. When we are tired, worn out, tempted, depressed, lonely, …frustrated… we want instant gratification and we are surrounded by a world that offers instant gratification in a bazillion different ways.
But God has a different way. A way with eternity in mind. Not an instant momentary sense of pleasure, gratification, contentedness, etc.
Imagine a string. A million miles long. Stretched out far beyond where we can see with our eyes. Now take a felt marker and make the smallest dot you can on that string. That dot represents our life on earth on the timetable of eternity. A little tiny almost imperceptible mark on a string a million miles long. What the Bible calls our “light and momentary troubles” doesn’t seem quite so large does it? God sees the rest of the string marked by our marker and representing our life with Him, and there is a little white speck representing our life here. He focuses on the life with Him, not our “training and transformation” time here.
Have you ever heard the expression, “You can’t see the forest for the trees.” We can be so focused on the large tree in our path, right in front of our nose as we press our screaming face right on the bark and yell, “GET OUTTA MY WAY!”, that we miss the whole beautiful forest all around us, or the rest of the path through the forest that lies before us. I’ve told people, “When you’re stuck in the muddy swamp, don’t just look down at the mud, keep your eyes on the bank and start walking out.” Don’t set up camp in the swamp unless you love stinky water and leeches latching on to you. Just start walking out and let the Lord keep you afloat. And as we do that, He rewires our thinking, our heart, our desires, so that we are able to become more like Christ and color the rest of the string.
Hang on to Philippians 1:6 “…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” I like what Clarke’s Commentary says about this verse, “There shall be nothing lacking on God’s part to support you; and to make you wise, holy and happy; and bring you at last to his kingdom and glory.”