Wednesday Words: Frustration

Keeping our dog out of the kitchen when the children sometimes share their snack is a never ending battle. Fighting that battle is frustrating. We are currently operating only one vehicle due to some needed car repairs that were unexpected. The situation is inconvenient and provides some frustration.

Frustration is everywhere. People are frustrated because they can not participate in or experience what they have in previous years/times in life. Certain rules, policies, and procedures have been put in place that prevent certain activities/events from happening. Public health is important yet the circumstances can be frustrating. Finding some resemblance of consistency in a ever changing world is frustrating. Sometimes determining the cause of frustration is challenging because a number of different factors have led up to this feeling.

In 1st Kings 19:9-10, Elijah communicates to God frustration over his current situation. “There he went into a cave and spent the night. And the word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah? He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”

Before this statement, Elijah had experienced several circumstances that may have created his attitude. First, the land is experiencing a famine and Elijah is running for his life. He also called fire from heaven (1st Kings 18) when people of God were battling against prophets of Baal. Elijah has been through several challenging moments. He believes he is the only one left who is committed to obeying God.

Following this statement, God revealed Himself to Elijah (1 Kings 19:11-13). Elijah experienced God’s presence through a gentle whisper. God then asks Elijah the same question (as He did in verse 9)…What are you doing here? Elijah responds the same way in 1st Kings 19:14 as he did back in verse 10. Elijah’s frustration is evident and preventing him from moving forward. After giving Elijah some specific tasks, God reminds Elijah that there are people willing to serve and follow God (1 Kings 19:18).

Sometimes we may be like Elijah. Our frustration may not subside even if we are reminded of the truth from God’s Word. We may be so frustrated that we may forego responsibilities and hinder/hurt other people as we relate to them. Even God’s presence didn’t change Elijah’s answer. We may even ask ourselves internally…what are we doing here?

In the midst of our frustration may we remember who God is and what God has called us to do. Keeping our purpose and mission as disciples of Christ will allow us to remember our calling and the frustration should subside. Through worship, prayer, God’s Word, and building relationships that create a strong community around us we can be encouraged thus easing frustration. May we trust God’s presence to re-gain our focus away from frustration and towards following Jesus.

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