God made all emotions. Like anger -- Jesus showed righteous anger.
So there must also be holy frustration!
Is there holy frustration in your life? Careful now, think before you answer.
Pentecost is a time when I especially feel frustration. I want to live in the power of the Spirit as was seen at Pentecost. It is so sad when we approach Pentecost as a memorial to an event from long ago, instead of a time to express a deep desire to see the Spirit come and change us, our church, our community.
You say "But I do desire that!" Careful now, do you really? Or do you desire it only on your terms?
One thing I can be certain of is, when I allow the desires God has given me to rise up, then life is never the same, things are turned upside down, everything is rearranged, and surprise becomes my new normal.
Realize this: when the Spirit moves, he WILL bring change that many will not like. Church WILL change (but be careful to understand if the change is really of the Spirit or simply of human brokenness).
Do you desire a move of the Spirit -- even if that thought disturbs you?
I hope you do, but I fear so many only say this without any real yearning. We are so good at suppressing real spiritual desire, and so efficient at maintaining status quo ... if there's one thing about the Spirit it is that status quo is not maintained.
So, if you are feeling spiritually frustrated, know that frustration is inevitable for all Christians this side of heaven; we yearn, but in this world we are not perfect and spiritual desires WILL to some extent be frustrated by the weakness in ourselves or in others. Deal with it. Expect it and give thanks that God works all things for good.
The scary corollary: If I'm not feeling frustrated in my desires to see God's kingdom come, then something's probably wrong with my Christian walk.
(And yet how often do we pray so unthinkingly "may your kingdom come")
If I am feeling frustrated in my spiritual experience of Church, how do I, how should I understand it?
First, ask what is the basis of my frustration: is it because I am denied a personal desire, or because others are being denied something I have already known from God? Usually it's some of both, but consider these separately:
- If it's because my own spiritual desires are frustrated, then there's lots in the Bible to help you during this time: "my grace is sufficient", "thorn in my side", "carry the cross", etc. But Godly frustration is also God's prod to action. Of course this assumes I know his will and what his timing is and how his will should be implemented!
- If my frustration is primarily on behalf of others, that's a great invitation to be a leader (and if you are a leader already, to reflect on your leadership). A leader's purpose is to lead others along the right path toward a destination. Unfortunately, leadership does not come with a teleporter to instantly get people from A-B. A leader has to break new ground, and this will always upset some people. But if it's of the Spirit, we should expect this (so get over over it and get on with it!).
What if I'm not a leader, but I'm frustrated by my leaders? Well, nothing new there. Ever since the dawn of time people have been frustrated with their leaders. The lesson here is, is my frustration because I think I know better (pride), or because I yearn to respond to the Spirit but the leadership holds me back. Be careful. Both situations are common, but we must be very clear in discerning which is driving us.
And if I'm a leader of frustrated people? Well, people are God's gift to leaders. How can you be a leader unless you learn from those you lead? If you are not learning from those you lead, you are, by definition, failing as a leader (and this does not mean a leader just does what people want).
Hence we know the essential need for humility by leaders so that they can learn from the Spirit's move among those they lead.
Lastly: Frustration does not lead to instant change, but begins a process of change.
This Pentecost, be blessed in your frustration, or pray for a motivating desire to get you moving, don't only remember a past event. Ask and allow the Spirit to bring new radical change; seek the Spirits relief to your frustration despite any fear of change.
God's change is only scary before we submit, after which it's pure Joy.