Dealing With Frustrations and Disappointments
Frustrations are real in this life. Unrealized expectation. Unfinished project. Unmet needs. unreasonable demands. They remind us, on the one hand, that we cannot have everything we want in life. They testify that we are not in control. They also tell us that we have to come to terms with our finiteness.
Frustrations, on the other hand, show us that God is not yet finish with His transforming work in us. As the sovereign Lord, God can work through our frustrations for our good. That's why we can praise Him even in and in spite of all the disappointments and frustrations in life.
God is in control of our lives. He is in-charge of the affairs in world. He can use our frustrations to beautify us and to purify us. He can use even the bad things that are happening in and around us in order to sanctify us.
God’s goal for us is to become like Christ - to become obedient children of God. One passage in the Bible that tells us about it is Romans 8:29: "For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers."
But before Romans 9:29, we have verse 28, which says, "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose."
It is hard to say in a particular case. Often we do not know why God permits difficulties in life. We do not know why people who were so in love with each other ended up hurting each other. We don’t know why some saints of God die early. We don’t know why God does not always heal our loved ones who have contracted covid or are suffering from cancer.
But this we do know: just as a doctor must sometimes hurt us in order to heal us, so God is always working even that which hurts us with our good in mind, even when we can't see it. That sometimes is harder to accept.
"In all things God works for the good of those who love Him." The reason why the Bible can make this statement is because it takes a very wide view of life and history. Our view is always very limited, and therefore we struggle.
All sorts of painful things may happen to us. "Our hearts may be broken a thousand times in this world, and our bodies wracked with pain. But these things are part of the Refiner's fire, the crucible of the kingdom of God." (R. C. Sproul, "The Invisible Hand," 175).
That which we experience here on earth is part of that struggle of life in a sin-filled world. What good is there in the struggle? Now we may not see, but James does tell us that the testing of our faith produces perseverance and spiritual maturity (James 1:2-4). Ultimately it is worked for our good by the One who has all of history in His hands.
We need to remember, however, that Romans 8:28 talks about all of this in the context of "those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." God's people are the ones in mind here. Those who do not know the Lord and remain unrepentant will ultimately not have everything work for their good. Living in sin invokes the wrath of God.
But those who love the Lord can live with utter security and assurance that they belong to their faithful Savior Jesus Christ, in life and in death. Nothing is able to separate them from the love of God in Him who loves them and has freed them from their sin by His blood.