In my previous post I noted that the Bible says, to the surprise of many, that life is frustrating—and it means it.
And that raises a question: why is it frustrating? And what’s the answer—how do we handle the frustration?
As I noted last time, a good many Christians are surprised that Ecclesiastes means what it says—that all is vanity (emptiness) and vexation of spirit, or chasing the wind (frustrating).
But if you’ll think about it, my surprised Christian friend, you’ll realize that there was no reason to be surprised at all.
The Bible tells a story—one story, a true story, that explains everything we know and a lot of things we don’t.
It begins with God, all-powerful, all-wise, relational (“let us …”) and loving, creating a perfect universe, with little to no apparent effort but with great care and attention to detail, and placing in that world two humans, who we are told are in his image. And he offers them a relationship with himself.
But they reject that priceless offer and go their own way, bringing ruin not only to their souls but to their bodies, and indeed to all the created order.
So here we are, in the image of God, and in a world that we broke. What would someone in the image of God think about that?
The first thing we’re told about God is that he is a creator. He can envision things that don’t yet exist, and he can bring them into being. And we find that we can do the same thing—oh, not ex nihilo, of course, but artists envision products and bring them into existence all the time. And all of us—even the non-artists—can envision the way things ought to be, and we can recognize all the ways they’re broken. Nothing works as it should. Not relationships, families, communities, nations. Not even the DMV.
Now what do you think would be the expected response of someone in the image of God to all that brokenness?
So why are we surprised that life is frustrating—or that the Scripture, revealed to us by the God of truth, would come right out and say so?
Of course it’s frustrating.
But the Scripture doesn’t end with Genesis 3. The story of Scripture is the story of God graciously, patiently, and sovereignly fixing what we broke, including us ourselves. He’s taking a long time to do that—not because he needs a lot of time to fix the colossal mess we’ve created (he made the whole universe in six days, you know), but because sovereign people never have to be in hurry. If you see someone who’s in a hurry, you’re seeing someone whose life is out of control at that moment. God never experiences that. So he’s not in a hurry.
And in time, his time, his good and perfect time, he will make all things new, and that new heaven and earth will last forever, infinitely longer than this little bubble we call our earthly lives.
Let me illustrate.
Suppose someone with more money than brains decides that the school where I teach really needs a fleet of Ferraris for its Public Safety Department. So he buys us half a dozen.
Do you know what the speed limit is on our campus?
In front of the Child Development Center, 10 mph.
Now, how do you suppose the Ferraris feel about the prospect of going 20 mph for the next hundred thousand miles?
Ferraris weren’t made to go 20 mph. They were made to go 220 mph. They’re going to be really frustrated at good old BJU.
And here’s the point.
You’re a Ferrari. Not because you’re all that—this isn’t at all about your self-esteem—but because you’re in the image of God, who is all that.
Right now you’re in a 20-mph world. And it’s frustrating. It’s supposed to be.
You’re not made for this world. You’re made for the next.
And one day, in time, his time, his good and perfect time, your Creator is going to take you out onto a highway that was made for speed, and he’s going to give you the throttle and “see what this baby can do.”
And in that day you’ll go really, really fast, and you’ll bring a delighted smile to his face.
So how do you handle frustration?
You take it as a gift from a gracious God, a reminder that you are made not for this world, but for an unbroken one—one that will last for all time and beyond.
That’s going to be just awesome.
Photo by mwangi gatheca on Unsplash