Friday Focus

Frustration and Hope by Ken Edgerly

Romans 8:20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope  21) that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into freedom and glory of the children of God. (NIV)

The first time I read this I thought, what!? I had to read it again, God subjected creation to frustration? I read on, in hope. I had to think about this for awhile to understand, or at least try. So that means all creation, Christians, non-Christians, and I guess that includes everything in Heaven and on Earth, are subjected to frustration by God. All because of the sin of Adam and Eve. Verse 22) we know that the whole creation has been groaning as in pains of childbirth right up to the present time. One thing I thought about in trying to understand why God did it this way, I thought about what happens when I'm going along, things are great, I have a little money in my pocket and am able to go shopping for my woodworking tools or whatever. My hope is that these things will continue and if it

continues for awhile, this is not exactly the time when I'm digging into scriptures and focusing on Jesus and where He wants me. The longer I go on this path, the further away from God I get and it becomes all about me and what I want. It's in the times of frustration and struggles, though, that I turn my attention back to God and begin praying and reading His word and soon my hopes are not in or about this world but in being with and depending on Him and about the glory that is to come.

Earlier Paul says in verse 18, I consider my present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. I think Paul knew about frustration and suffering as much or more than any of us. Still it was nothing compared to the glory that was to come.  So there is a purpose and a reason for God subjecting us to frustration. Instead of us getting comfortable in this world and in our sinful ways, we will seek and become dependent upon Him. He loved us that much. So in thinking about what my frustrations were as I was working on this. The first is this pandemic we are going through and how it is affecting our lives and about all the things people are telling us we should or shouldn't be doing. Who is right and who is wrong? Another one is our leaders and how far apart they are in how to lead the country and how I can feel so strong about my side but a friend and believer can feel just as strong about the other side. To me that's frustrating, why can't they see it the way I do which I'm so sure is right. Another is the differences in beliefs between different churches. All using the same scripture but coming up with different ideas of what it's saying and believing they are hearing and preaching  the truth.  Also in reading scripture myself, in one book I read I can't do the work, Jesus does the work in me, then the next book tells me I need to be holy which sounds like there are things I need to and can be doing. What if I think one way and find out when I die that I was wrong, will I end up in Hell, am I  really saved? These are things that really frustrate me. I guess there's a purpose, though, in all our frustrations and it's to bring us to the hope and realization that Jesus knows us and we need to put our confidence and trust totally in Him and not in ourselves or in others. So in thinking about your own frustrations may you find hope, hope in the one who loves you and wants you to put your trust in Him.

Photo Mt. St. Helens (c) 2005 Virgil Stripes

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