Frustration Teaches Me True Patience

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When going through a trial Christians are encouraged to “wait upon the Lord” so that God is the one who works things out instead of them. Unfortunately this truth can create spiritual apathy or laziness.

 

While dealing with frustration I’ve found myself defining patience this way.

  1. God is going to work things out for His Glory
  2. My job is simply to wait for Him to open the door
  3. Any kind of work means I am relying on myself

 

While it’s true that God wants me to wait for Him to work things out just sitting around and doing nothing is a sin [1]

 

So a better definition would look like this:

 

Patience is allowing God to work out things that I cannot, while faithfully working out things that I can with His strength.

 

The point is in frustration God does give us insurmountable challenges, but at the same time other doors of ministry and opportunity are opened for us to pursue.

 

But it isn’t enough to have open doors

God must have something that pushes us through those doors

 

Sadly while in a frustrating situation we tend to feel unmotivated and end up being lazy. There is actually a healing aspect to this since it helps us face our pain instead of running from it, but there is also a need for motivation outside of ourselves.

 

That’s where frustration comes in

 

It’s fun to embrace the “lazy view of patience” [2] but eventually you will get bored with it. In that moment a dissatisfaction with inactivity will begin to grow, and won’t die till your forced to take action.

 

Unfortunately many individuals (myself included) focus our energy on that huge problem, and end up banging our heads against a wall spiritually

 

What makes this sad is frustration isn’t supposed to lead us there, instead its created to lead us through the doors God has opened for that moment.

Waiting With Excellence from John Wilburn on Vimeo.

 

A few months ago the Lord allowed me to begin mentoring children in the school system (spend a few hours working on reading or writing). This began as something to take my mind off the frustration of still being here instead of Australia, and a secondary ministry just so I didn’t get bored.

 

Along the way an interesting thing happened

The mentoring ministry stopped being secondary

 

As relationships were developed the Lord allowed me to

  1. Explain foundational truths of the Gospel to young children
  2. Learn how to motivate growth in children while clearly establishing rules [3]
  3. Minister to their learning needs in an effective way
  4. And prepare lesson plans that can be used in Australia

 

The best part of about these mentoring opportunities is the happiness they filled me with.

 

Somehow I knew in that moment I was doing exactly what God created me to do

 

Does this mean I want to spend the rest of my life mentoring children? Of course not! But it’s a blessing to know my energy and talent can be used for God’s glory as He works things out.

 

I know it’s a lot easier to hide from frustration by not doing anything challenging and tell ourselves we are just “waiting on God.” However if we stop hiding frustration will lead us to the will of God for that moment.

Even if it has to drag us kicking and screaming the whole way.


  1. we are commanded by God to bear spiritual fruit  ↩
  2. do nothing and just wait on God  ↩
  3. three words, incredible hulk stickers  ↩

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