A few years I was having some counselling and the psychologist encouraged me to come to our meetings with a word written down that best summarised my emotions during the week that had just gone by.
I am pretty certain that if I was doing that now for the past couple of months my word would
I am frustrated COVID is still here
I am frustrated with wearing masks
I am frustrated that I haven’t been able to get home to Scotland
I am frustrated at not being able to gather for worship physically
I am frustrated with plans being put on hold because of COVID-19
I am frustrated at the length of time my dental treatment is taking
I am frustrated at not being able to communicate better on video
I am frustrated in not being able to meet people when they are ill
You get the picture
I am …. F R U S T R A T E D !!!!!
I try and read a Psalm with my devotions before I pray. The other day I was just about to pour out all my frustrations to the Lord when I read Psalm 40
“I WAITED PATIENTLY FOR THE LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD.”
Its difficult to explain to people who aren’t Christians that you believe God speaks to you, without them thinking you’re a bit mad. But we know when God is speaking to us don’t, we? And as I read these words, I heard God’s voice.
I WAITED PATIENTLY FOR THE LORD
We are not told what was going on in David’s life when he wrote those words, we only know he had learned to wait patiently on God. David’s reaction to what was happening in his life was the opposite of mine. He didn’t stew in frustration, he waited patiently on the Lord.
I have been trying to think about what waiting patiently means. I have come to the conclusion that it is about how we react in stressful situations. Instead of stewing in our frustrations at what we are experiencing instead we turn to the Lord expectantly yet calmly and wait for Him to act. This means trusting in His timing rather than ours. We trust that He knows better than we do how and when to resolve the situation.
When I was young Advent really amounted to opening little windows on an Advent calendar to see a new picture each day of December up until Christmas Day. (There were no chocolate filled Advent Calendars back then) In our Pentecostal Church, I never really remember Advent being mentioned. As I have grown older, I have learned to appreciate Advent much more.
Reflecting on my experience reading Psalm 40 it struck me that Advent is the antidote to frustration. Advent helps teach us to wait patiently on the Lord. We remember that the people Israel waited on the Messiah for centuries but as Paul puts it in Gal 4:4 “But WHEN THE TIME WAS RIGHT, God sent his Son, and a woman gave birth to him” Advent teaches us that we don’t need to get frustrated. Instead we can wait patiently on the Lord because when the time is right God will act.
I can’t claim to have got my frustration totally under control. I am still a frustrated person in recovery. I am confident however that my recovery is going to be improved as I read the Scriptures connected to Advent each day. Through those readings I am reminded by God in His Word that He keeps His promises, that His timing is perfect, that He loves me and wants the best for me.
Ian White is a Scottish worship leader who is probably best known for his renditions of the Psalms. I remembered that he had written an arrangement of Psalm 40. So everyday before I pray, I listen to Ian reminding me to wait patiently on the Lord. If you are struggling with frustration, I would encourage you to join me in listening to Psalm 40 it can vaccination us against frustration
Pray for me as I learn to wait more patiently