Am I allowed to be frustrated with God?
Frustration is generally defined as being upset or annoyed at the inability to change something or to reach a goal. We all sometimes grow frustrated at events in life, but is it wrong to be frustrated with God?
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The Bible offers some examples of people who were frustrated with God that allows us a clear answer to this question. For example, Jonah was frustrated with God in Jonah 4 both concerning a vine that had withered as well as God's decision to not bring judgment upon the people of Nineveh when they repented in response to Jonah's preaching. How did God respond? He asked Jonah, "Do you do well to be angry for the plant?" (Jonah 4:9). Using this question as a starting point, God explained that the people and animals of the city were far more important, challenging Jonah's frustration as something that failed to see the situation from God's perspective.
In the New Testament, the account of Mary and Martha serves as a clear example. When Jesus visited their home, Mary listened to Jesus while He taught. Martha worked to prepare the home and meal. Martha grew frustrated at Mary not helping and told Jesus, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me" (Luke 10:40). Jesus responded in a way that made it clear Mary was the one who had chosen to focus on Jesus and that she was right in doing so (Luke 10:41-42).
Because frustration is defined as anger toward God, it is certainly wrong. Our human frustrations with God are the result of not understanding His plan or His ways in our life. While even godly people in the Bible were frustrated with God, the Lord's goal was to lead them to rely on His strength and help.
We are called to trust in the Lord (Psalm 37:3; Proverbs 3:5-6). When we do, we let go of our desire to live frustrated, knowing God is in control and able to make even the worst of life's situations work for His ultimate good. We can then answer as Joseph that the evil that happens to us serves as part of God's plan for changing lives (Genesis 50:19-20). We understand the promise of Jeremiah 29:11: "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." We discover what Paul taught in Romans 8:28 that, "we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose."
These passages and others help us to understand that instead of frustration with God, we are to trust in God's goodness, power, and control, knowing His strength is perfect and that He will guide our lives to help accomplish His plan for us: "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9).
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