Frustration, Fear, or Faith?
Maybe you have found yourself in a place where you literally have nothing left. Your faith is depleted, your doubts are overwhelming you, you are fearful about the future, and to make matters worse you’re beginning to doubt God. Many of us have been forced to ask ourselves questions that under normal circumstances, we wouldn’t ask. As we’ve come through this pandemic, I have been forced to ask myself this question: from what perspective am I responding?
Do I function out of frustration? It becomes extremely easy to operate from frustration. Like you, many of my freedoms have seemingly been trampled upon. I went from having a very full ministry schedule that included travel across Canada to suddenly being at home, working primarily online and on the phone. I see things that my government does, and I can quickly respond out of frustration. Yet Joshua would tell us to “be strong and courageous” (Joshua 1:9), not frustrated or fearful. In fact, biblically I am called upon to pray for my government leaders. As a child of God, whether I voted for them or not is irrelevant. That frustration then works its ugly magic and causes that emotional response to impact the people we love the most: a wife, husband, child, or friend. Frustration easily becomes an excusable sin.
Or do I function out of fear; the fear of the unknown, the fear of the uncertainty of the future? Fear is a distressing emotion that is aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined. Fear can be and is a liar! Of course, the enemy of your heart wants you to be afraid! He wants you to live in fear as it is often crippling. Time and again we live life holding the nerve-wracking hand of fear versus holding the peace-filled hand of the Father. Do we have a choice in this matter? Of course we do! I want to act out of a quiet, confident peace rather than the voice of fear shadowing my days. Let us walk in the truth that the Lord is with us wherever we go and will strengthen us as we yield to Him. He offers a peace that surpasses all understanding, but it is up to us to choose this peace by ultimately trusting Him.
Fear can persuade us to make irrational decisions. We must choose the Voice of Truth and to seek Him and solid ground. As we choose a sound mind over fear, we will have to speak supporting truths in the place of the lies. Scripture is filled with truth and promises to navigate the voice of fear.
This functioning from frustration and fear really is lack of trust in the sovereignty of God! When I seek to solve the world’s problems, or the church’s or para-church ministry’s problems, out of a place of fear, what I am really saying is that I don’t think God is in control. And if God is not in control then there should be great fear in my heart. But since He is an all-knowing, all-seeing, everywhere-present God, I can put my trust in Him.
So the call on my life is not to function out of frustration or fear but out of faith. The author of the book of Hebrews would tell us that “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).
The word “faith” in the Old Testament and the New Testament can carry different meanings, depending on context. At times it means a waiting, patient trust in God or in the Word of God, and at other times, faith becomes active obedience. So in Colossians 2:7, the term suggests something to be accepted as a whole and embodied in personal life:  “Having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.”
The New Testament community, like its Old Testament counterpart, identified faith primarily with trust in God. An important emphasis of Jesus’ teachings is trust in God, not only for His great power which can accomplish miracles (e.g., Mark 11:20–24; Matthew 9:18–26) but also for His loving concern for the necessities of human existence (Matthew 6:25–33; Luke 12:22–31). Paul told the Philippians that “God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). If I am going to function from faith I must trust that God will take care of me and all that concerns me.
As we consider the transforming power and presence of Christ in our lives, let me simply encourage you, do not function (respond) out of frustration or fear. Rather, let us respond as children of faith, with great faith, in the power of the resurrected Christ.
Copyright © 2020 Lindsay Taylor. All rights reserved.
Myers, A. C. (1987). In The Eerdmans Bible dictionary (p. 374). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.
Lyon, R. W. (1988). Faith. In Baker encyclopedia of the Bible (Vol. 1, p. 761). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.
Lindsay Taylor spent 37 years in pastoral ministry, serving in churches in both New Brunswick and Ontario, Canada. Lindsay now serves as President of Strategic Renewal Canada (www.strategicrenewal.ca) and works in partnership with Strategic Renewal and The 6.4 Fellowship. He and his wife Kathy have three adult children and reside on the eastern shores of New Brunswick.