What do you do when you're frustrated with God?
I don't have all the answers on this, but I do want to share some thoughts about this today.
Yesterday was a frustrating day for me, and I ended it feeling very frustrated with God.
I'm still there today, honestly. That doesn't mean I'm backsliding or in doubt and unbelief; I'm working through it using faith, belief, prayer, and worship as my tools. But, I'm still frustrated.
Sometimes we get frustrated with God.
It just happens, and pretending it doesn't is unrealistic. But how do we handle it? That's what's important.
I spent the last two days helping the student pastor that our ministry is blessing hunt for her new car.
(For those of you who don't know, or who read this later, the precious people in this blog community pitched in last week to donate the money for a vehicle for a local student pastor who needed one. Between donations for this project (which have continued to come in) plus money we allocated from the ministry for this purpose, we have raised over $11,000. THANK YOU, LORD.)
We drove to Atlanta and looked at multiple cars.
The first day, in the evening, one of them we found seemed perfect, but we couldn't find a car garage to inspect it that night. So, we had to go back the next day. That was 7 hours of driving the first day, to not be able to bring a car home.
Then, yesterday, we drove down to Atlanta again.
I left my house at 6 AM, (with the baby in tow, mind you), and were at the car lot when it opened at 10 AM. We took the car to a garage to be inspected. We were so excited!
But, the car didn't check out. It's a really good thing we had it inspected, because the inspection revealed that the car had been flooded. It had sand, silt, and pine needles shoved into the underneath-parts of the car, in the undercarriage, and even under parts in the interior. The CarFax report was clean; no accidents, no damage–but the mechanic said it was so bad that it should have had a salvage title! We couldn't see any of those things until the car got up on the lift; it looked like a perfect car. But, no.
(And of course, we were thankful to God for delivering us from it; but, read on …) 🙂
After that disappointing result yesterday, we tried other cars.
Nothing. Finally, at the end of the day, we located another one that we were so excited about. I even went to the bank to get cashier's checks (otherwise the bank would have closed) while we had the car inspected.
But, again, no. That car–which looked nearly perfect, mind you, and drove like a dream–had an oil leak in the engine plus other mechanical problems. It needed $2,200 worth of repairs! And, it was already at the very top of our budget!
So, no. That one didn't pan out either. We left with no car. And the pastor was okay with it; she made the decision. But honestly, I was frustrated.
I was frustrated with God, not with people.
We've all been praying. We prayed again before we started looking for cars. And God is so big, and so powerful. He knows everything:
- He knows exactly where that student pastor's car is that she needs.
- It's going to be the perfect car for her.
- It's going to run great, be safe, and look good.
- It's going to have all the options she asked God for.
That car is out there, somewhere. So why didn't God take us to it?
I don't know, but I asked myself a lot of questions. I second-guessed myself and God on the way home yesterday.
These are the things I asked myself/God:
- Is “The Car” in another city? (We were in Atlanta, Georgia.) Did we make a mistake in going to Atlanta? Should we have gone somewhere else instead?
- Is it in a higher price range? Do we need to try and raise more money? Are all the cars in our current price range going to have mechanical problems?
- Are we looking for the wrong makes/models of cars?
- Do we need to look for an older car? (We were already looking at cars that were from 2-9 years old, so I hope not; but you never know.)
- Is “The Car” not on the market yet?
- Is it not time yet?
I ruminated on all of these things, and I prayed about them. But, I felt zero answer from God. Zip. Zilch. Nada. The only thing I felt from God–and I only “felt” this; I didn't “hear” it–was to wait and see what He would do.
And “wait and see” is a frustrating answer.
The thing is that God always has a reason. We just can't see it.
He always works things out for our good. As an example, yesterday, during the flooded-car fiasco, someone messaged me and said they wanted to help out a little more with the car purchase if we needed it. They wanted to bless this pastor some more.
So, right in the middle of hearing the bad news about this car that she had been SO excited about, I also got to share with her that someone wanted to bless her more and maybe it would help her get a nicer car in the long run. Father did that. How sweet is that?
In the evening, with the second car we thought we were purchasing, as well as the first, God DID answer prayer. We've been praying for Him to send us into contact with the right car, and to deliver us from all the wrong cars. So He DID deliver us from this car that needed $2,200 worth of repairs–money we didn't have. THANK YOU, ABBA, for Your deliverance!
But He still didn't send us into contact with the “right car.” And I don't understand why. When I've needed to buy a car personally before, we just prayed and went right to it. But, that didn't happen yesterday.
My point is this: Sometimes we get frustrated with God.
We get frustrated:
- Because we don't understand why He allows what He allows;
- Because we don't understand why He does what He does sometimes;
- Because we don't understand why He doesn't do what we want Him to, the way we want Him to do it;
- Because we don't understand why He doesn't answer the way we want Him to, all the time;
- And probably for a lot of other reasons.
We get frustrated with the unknowns sometimes. (At least, I do. But I don't think I'm the only one.)
We also get frustrated with delays.
This very morning, I've been frustrated with God because I haven't been able to find reliable office-type help with this ministry and blog, and I need help badly. I know He will provide help at some point, but I don't know when. I've been praying for it a long time, too.
But at the end of the day, what do we do with our frustration? That's what matters.
God is a compassionate God. He fully understands our frustrations. He knows that we like to have all our “i”s dotted and our “t”s crossed. He knows we like to have everything nailed down on all four sides. He knows that we like to be, well, in control.
If we can.
Because “being in control” and having the answers means we don't have to TRUST.
There's that word that's so hard: TRUST.
Heaven knows I've had to trust God before; but when you're being squeezed, it's hard to remember the lessons you've learned sometimes. Is anybody else with me on that?
Because here's the test:
- Will we pray, believe, work, and pursue even if it's hard?
- Will we press in even if things don't come easy?
- Will we take our frustrations to God and CHOOSE, choose, choosechoosechoosechooseCHOOSSSSECHOOSE to believe that He will perfect those things that concern us?
- Will we choose to believe that He's got it all under control in His hands and that He knows what's best for us?
- Will we choose to believe and know that He knows what we don't? And that ALL THINGS work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose?
- Will we choose to believe God and trust His timing, trust that His plan is perfect, trust that He will supply all our needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus?
Or will we doubt and whine?
I'm not doubting and I'm not whining right now; I'm just sharing my very real experience today because I believe it's going to challenge and hopefully encourage somebody else. But I have definitely been tempted to whine and complain; I'll tell you that right now. I don't understand why God didn't immediately and breezily answer our prayers.
But He knows. And at the end of the day, that's all that matters. Because, ultimately, our God WILL do what He said He would do. He is not a man, that He should lie. And just because He doesn't act on OUR timing, OUR wishes, and OUR _______ doesn't mean a blessed thing.
Except that we need to continue trusting, knowing that His plan is perfect.
Are you frustrated with God today? If so, you have two choices:
A) Doubt and whine; or
B) Believe, worship, praise, and pray … whether you understand or not, and whether you like the circumstances or not.
You and I have the same two options. I'm choosing to believe and trust. I'm choosing to work through the frustration using tools of righteousness.
The frustration is still there, honestly; but I'm determined to get through it and not be dominated by it. I believe that God is going to finish this miracle for this pastor, and I know that, when He does–in His time, His way, and His vehicle–we're all going to stand around and laugh with joy.
As a precious friend told me yesterday, when talking about this car, “Those who sow in tears will reap in joy.”
God has something up His sleeve that we haven't seen yet.
And He has something up His sleeve for YOU, in YOUR situation, that eye has not seen and ear has not heard about, too.
Believe it. Receive it. Pray for whatever it is that God knows about that you don't know about yet. And keep trusting that He will perfect those things that concern you …
… In His own way …
… And in His own time.
Is the Lord talking to you about a situation about which you're frustrated as well? If so, please share what Papa is telling you in the comments below!