How to Overcome Frustration in The Mission Field
“Onward Christian soldiers! Marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus, going on before.
Christ, the royal Master, leads against the foe;
Forward into battle, see, His banners go!”
~ What a hymn! It exhorts and excites the missionary spirit within me.
In the quietness of my daydream, I could see myself wearing flattering warrior clothes (sorry Xena –Warrrior princess, you got nothing on me), who although was surrounded by evil forces, was looking pretty invincible (pun intended), and at peace. What an interesting sight, I make. Ha!
Alas, I was rudely awakened from my reverie by a text notification ringtone on my phone.
From experience, I already knew the kind of messages that were filling my inbox. I had no desire to read them because I would have to respond. They would be messages from partners in the mission field, new believers and disciples, updating me about their sicknesses, financial problems, family issues and other issues of the similar nature.
In the daydream, I was invincible.
In reality, I wanted to withdraw from battle.
My faith was frustrated. My soul was tired. There wasn’t a positive vibe within me.
How many of us can relate to such feelings?
If you can relate to ‘frustrated faith’, it usually comes from unanswered prayers , differently answered prayers or unexpected outcomes.
Let us bust out “frustrated faith” once and for all.
Isn’t ‘frustrated faith’ an oxymoron? Frustration is an emotion expressing defeat. How can faith in the One True God be defeated? It’s impossible.
If I have faith in GOD in the first place, then I must have already believed that
HE is omnipresent (all-present)
HE is omniscient (all-knowing)
HE is omnipotent (all-powerful)
HE is faithful
HE is good
HE is sovereign
Therefore, however, whenever and in whatsoever way HE answers our prayers, HE is right. That is faith.
So why was I frustrated and defeated in my faith?
Where could I have gone wrong?
In John 12:12-19 we see that, there were hundreds of thousands of people lining up the streets of Jerusalem, welcoming Jesus shouting a victorious military song from Psalm 118 “Hosanna, blessed is HE who comes in the name of the LORD! Blessed is the King of Israel”, while carrying palm branches. This huge crowd of people had faith and hope. They came to celebrate the Passover and were excited to see Jesus as their leader.
5 days later, the same Jesus who was honoured as their King, stood in front of a crowd that were shouting “Crucify him”.
They were a disappointed, frustrated crowd. Let’s surmise their hearts’ desires and intentions. They were frustrated because:
Jesus did not do what they desired HIM to do - Most of the people did not understand what kind of king Jesus would be. They expected their Messiah to be a great political and military leader who would free them from the tyranny of the Roman Empire.They wanted military victory, while HE brought spiritual victory. They wanted roman soldiers out of the land, while HE came to dismiss demonic forces
Because of their religion, they had showed up in Jerusalem to celebrate Passover. They were not the people who had been with Jesus every day
They gathered not just to see Jesus, but to also see Lazarus, whom Jesus has brought back to life
They gathered not because of who Jesus was to them, but to see what Jesus would do. They were mere spectators. They applauded HIM in hope for a miracle.
These hard hitting facts drove home the message to me. My worship of God should not be dependent on what HE can do for me (or for others). My worship, my praise, in all that I do and say should be because of WHO HE IS. My faith is on who HE is. There is no connection between what I give to God in worship, and what God performs for me during the week.
HE responds out of who HE is – all-knowing, all-powerful, all-encompassing, ever faithful and merciful.
In HIM I have peace. When the going gets tough, I have faith that HE knows best.
Frustration? What’s that? :)
Much love and prayers,
About the Author
Coretta Christy is a mission mobiliser. She left the software engineering field to pursue on God's heartbeat which is to take the gospel to the unreached.
She has served in Cambodia for more than 4 years and is now actively mobilising the church in India to send missionaries to the unreached.