Moving Beyond Life’s Frustrations

Date: October 24, 2022

“But I think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker and fellow soldier…. For he longs for all of you and is distressed because you heard he was ill.  Indeed, he was ill, and almost died.  But God had mercy on him…” (Philippians 2:25-27)

“Dear Mr. Sala, I need help!  I am 34 years old, and I have not accomplished or feel that I am accomplishing any of my goals.  I attend college in the evenings.  I have done very well in bringing up my grade standards, but I seem to come in contact with situations that I cannot control or have the faith to overcome.  That is why I am writing.  I am faithless.  I thought I really believed in God, but I do not.  I don’t even believe in myself.  I have listened to your Guidelines.  Can you please send me help or suggest help that is real?”  Signed, “With great frustration…”  Can you relate to that letter?  You bet you can!

Frustration is something that almost everybody has to cope with these days. You want certain vacation dates, but your wife can’t be off.  You miss your bus, which means you try to find a taxi, which means…yes, you are going to be late for work and they will dock your salary for tardiness.  You think that next month you are going to get on top of things financially, but you had not planned on car repairs or a trip to the doctor with your youngster who had a sore throat.

We can all relate to the story about the little dog that was in a cage in the airfreight department of an airline.  He was howling for all he was worth, and a dog-lover, hearing the plaintive howling of the little doggie, demanded to know what was wrong.  The clerk in charge said, “I don’t know where the dog is going…he doesn’t know where he is going, and the dog just chewed up the tag which told where we were supposed to ship him.”  Our greatest frustrations in life, however, are not usually mechanical.  They are people-related.  They involve our family and the people we work with.  They relate to the goals we set for ourselves, goals that are elusive and leave us hurting.  They are often caused by situations we have no control over or things that we have no control over, things that we wish had not happened but did happen.

Let’s focus on goals.  Your goals should rest upon the will of God for your life.  They ought to be an outgrowth of what you feel God wants you to do.  But even then, you cannot eliminate frustration.  Do not think for a moment that if you are spiritual enough, or have enough faith, or pray enough, you will never be frustrated.  The pages of Scripture tell us that spiritual giants encountered great frustration.

Think with me for a minute about some of the frustrations some of them faced.  Here’s Moses, the greatest Old Testament figure.  The 40 years during which Moses led the children of Israel were a study of frustration.  Read Numbers 20 when Moses got so frustrated with the complaining and whining of the people that he cries, “Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock…?”  He’s angry and he is about to explode.  Moses lifts the rod with both hands and brings it down on the rock at Meribah, and by so doing was he reprimanded by the Lord, which resulted in his not making the final trip into the Promised Land.  You cannot have what you want, so you get mad.  It costs you, as well.  There’s a better way to handle frustration.   It comes with the realization that God’s will extends to the troublesome frustrations of life.  When we recognize that the Hand of God hovers over our lives in times of frustration as well as in times of blessing, we can then say, “God hasn’t forsaken me; therefore, I will trust Him to show me the way out of my frustration.”  Your attitude makes all the difference.


Resource reading:  Philippians 2:19-30