Faithful Frustration

Tonight, I’m writing from a place firmly rooted in frustration. As ashamed to say it as I am, I’m frustrated with God. Yesterday my day was frustrating, exhausting, chaotic and ultimately, unfulfilling. I came home needing some good old-fashioned TLC. I needed to take a hot shower, turn off my brain and be loved on and taken care of. That’s not what God had in store for me.

Instead, my fiance called me to tell me about how his car insurance company has upped his rate for the 4th time in about a year and he didn’t know what to do. That message came to me as I was walking in the door taking a deep breath of relief. But alas,  I didn’t get the luxury to come home and lick my wounds and check out for the night. Instead, I had to put my needs on hold for the man I care about. I went to the store, got him his new favorite seasonal beer and a pizza and cooked dinner while he feverishly searched for quotes and talked on the phone with insurance agents. I served dinner. He went in the other room to talk on the phone. I cleaned up dinner. Then I took the dog out for his nightly poop walk, which for you non-dog owners out there, you should know it’s much more involved than just a normal potty walk. I did it all on a night where I felt most like I needed to do nothing but collapse into his loving arms on my sofa and pet my dog.

I’m not holding any of this against my fiance. He was grateful and told me as much. I know he’s not like this all the time. But, it never fails that God always aligns our nights of need. If I’ve had a rough day, he’s had a really rough day. If my neck is stiff from stress, so is his. I don’t know what I’m supposed to glean from this. Put others ahead of myself? Check. Don’t wallow or pity your station? Well… sometimes you just need to! It’s human nature.

I’m ashamed to say my frustration with God is mounting. There have been a few prayers I’ve been praying for the better half of a year. I won’t go into detail but I pray them when I’m running, I fall asleep praying them, I pray them after I read my bible, I mean all. the. time. I really feel like every time I start to pray, God rolls his eyes and says, “Let me guess” and then lists them off in the same order I pray them. But, no matter how many times a day I pray for the same things, I haven’t gotten any kind of an answer. Not “answered” but an answer. The answer could be no. The answer could be wait. It could be anything. But for crying out loud, AN ANSWER would be fantastic! I have yet to encounter anything as frustrating as feeling ignored.

What reason could God have for ignoring me? Or any of us for that matter? It’s an arrogant thought. As if the creator of our universe just has all the time in the world to answer what seem like pidly concerns for us. Just imagine Bruce Almighty! But it’s human nature to expect a conversation to work in both directions, am I right? Obviously I know better. We all know better. The knowledge that it doesn’t work that way when talking to God doesn’t satiate the feeling inside of all of us that when we talk (to anyone) we should get a response. I mean, even my dog tilts his head and responds to my questions. I think this is a large part of where faith comes into play. We need to have faith to keep talking to God. If we lose faith and it prevents us from constantly running to him with our problems who or where will we run to? We all know God is good. That’s no secret. If he’s good we’d run somewhere… “not good”, right?

I’ve encountered many obstacles while trying to grow my faith. I’ve been working on volunteering at church and reading the Lord’s word as often as I can. I’ve been going to church and being a part of what happens there. I’ve even done a few independent bible studies to try to understand the contexts and stories of the people we hear so frequently about in the books of the bible. My goal is to familiarize myself with His word and His ways and I will start to understand how he is guiding me in my path.

When looking at how many different ways I’ve tried to get to know Jesus, it makes me feel like I have been scratching and clawing my way up a sand dune. I can’t get to the top of the sand dune because the harder I claw and scratch, the more the sand slips through my grip. I want to know him and to understand his word, to breathe faith and bring others with me to church. I want to get those I love engaged in church with me! I feel like in my most personal moments of prayer and vulnerability I am talking to a stranger. I feel my bones calling out to Him. I want to know him with every inch of my body and soul and yet I feel like I get nothing back.

A wise friend of mine recently told me “if there is no answer, the answer is no”. But what if the question isn’t a yes or no question? I suppose He is Jesus so He can answer however He chooses but it doesn’t make it any easier to digest His answer.

This is why choosing faith is always the harder road. As much as I want to stop pursuing God and His word out of frustration, I know that I would be so much worse off without Him in my life guiding me. I just recently saw a quote from C.S. Lewis that said, “Faith is the art of holding on to things in spite of your changing moods and circumstances”. I think this is the perfect way to describe it. Mr. Lewis doesn’t say that you’ll always be joyful in your pursuit of faith. He says that your life will change and those changes affect your faith. It’s pretty cool that we can have a God that knows we aren’t always going to be happy with His path for us and He loves us anyway.

I wish I could close this with a happy little uplifting quip about how I’m whistling and smiling. But I can’t. I’m still very much hurting, exhausted and frustrated. But in time, when God reveals his plan to me as I walk His path, things will get better and I will understand why I’ve had to walk through all of this. We all will.

 

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2 thoughts on “Faithful Frustration

  1. The age old analogy I have heard is how a sword is made. Purified by fire. First you have to heat it to extreme temperatures, then you have to smack it with a hammer. Eventually, you have beaten the hot mess into a beautiful (and sharp) sword. Useful for defeating the enemy as well. The verses most Christians don’t like to hear is where Jesus describes the life of a Christian. Hated, mocked, persecuted. John 15 goes as far to say that if the world loves you, you aren’t doing it right. We have to accept the fire and the hammer. There is no universal, ‘here, this will make you feel better’, but hopefully you will find peace in knowing you are on the right path. And, that you will continue to see the enemy where he is active. As you said, its not your fiance. And take a small portion of pride. The enemy finds you worth trying to disrupt. He doesn’t waste his time on people that aren’t a threat to him. Prayers for your frustration. thank you for sharing so that we can all remember that this side of heaven, a battle is still waging.

    • Barry,

      Thank you for that. I needed to hear the piece about the enemy disrupting me. It’s so easy to forget that we are not a forgotten force and that Jesus knows each of us by name and if we’re not careful, the enemy knows us by our insecurities, sins and short comings. I also find the metaphor of making a sword particularly beautiful in that we forget that sometimes we must walk through fire to come out as the Lord intended us. God bless!

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