Living in the Real World | 01 Aug 10, Joe Sucher

Excerpt from the book "Winning Over Frustration" is good practical advice

Let's Try Living In The Real World

In this world of instant readouts, data process­ing, no-mistake typing, and computer miracles for all occasions, people keep looking for some kind of religious experience that will solve all their prob­lems, make them rich, blow away all their frustra­tions, and keep them forever from faltering, fret­ting, and falling. They are looking for some kind of IBM-card-Holy-Ghost miracle which will come sliding out of God's cosmic computer when we press all the right prayer buttons.

There is no such experience available, nor is it promised by the Bible. The only experience which provides a genuine answer for our ultimate need is salvation. All other experiences may be lovely, thrilling and uplifting, but the real world soon folds, bends, and mutilates them.

To be "filled with the Spirit" does not mean that you will never have to run to catch a bus again, that the big deal won't fall through, or that your only pair of hose won't develop a horrifying run the moment you walk into a banquet room. But it does mean that when such.frustrations pop up, you can handle them through Jesus Christ.

The promise is not that you will avoid all frustrating circumstances, but that you will "receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you" (Acts 1:8) and that's far better than receiving a gospel raygun which shoots down everything in your path but goose pimples.

Besides, living in the real world has its own rewards and blessings. The story is told that after he had received one of filmdom's honors Jack Benny said, "I know full well I do not deserve this. But I'm going to take it because I have arthritis and I don't deserve that, either!"

Jesus said "The way is hard that leads to life"

... (Matthew 7:13). He didn't say it was grim and

~* joyless, just that it isn't going to be easy. That's

the way I have found it to be, not easy but joyful!

Frustration is the gift the Frustrator wants to give you. Those who serve him best are the ones he treats more mercilessly. But remember, he is only the initiator. We make the decisions.

I sometimes think that the groundwork for --^ future frustrations is laid in childhood when false expectations of life are programmed into us. Remember that Webster defines frustration as preventing "one from achieving an objective."

It naturally follows that if we set impossible objec­tives and goals we will be frustrated.

In childhood, we are exposed to never-never land stories which tell us that in the end the villian is always beaten, the handsome hero always gets the girl, and that they then live the rest of their lives in uninterrupted bliss.

 

Then we grew up and our expectations were shattered. Many have attempted to "live happily ever after'' by earning large sums of money, find­ing the perfect mate, and acquiring all sorts of material possessions. Unfortunately, those things never seem to effect the perfect world we were rais­ed to believe in. The problems, frustrations, and emptiness of life continue to haunt us.

Then we heard the gospel, felt the tug of the Holy Spirit, yielded our lives to Jesus Christ, and were born again. For a while, the joy was so great that we were beside ourselves. At last, we had located that elusive land where life was one moun-taintop after another and we were delirious with joy. We went out and bought bumper stickers which proclaimed "I found it!" and pasted them on our cars, assured that from then on we'd live happily ever after.

But then we lost our jobs, our teenagers found dope, our daughters got pregnant at sixteen, infla­tion raged, our husbands got leukemia, friends were killed in auto accidents, and our brothers went off to world wars never to return. In other words, we were suddenly confronted with the world as it really is and we became frustrated.

Hopefully, when that happens we will get rid of our false expectations of living in a world of everlasting ecstasy. Instead, we will look into the Word of God and see that Jesus did not operate in the kind of Cinderella world we had been seeking. He operated amidst sin, adultry, unjust taxes, war­ring nations, prejudice, religious opportunities, and lost sons. In fact, if you laid down freeways, put TV sets and microwave ovens into homes, and just changed the technological props a little, we'd see that it was a world just like ours.

We would see that this is not bad news, but that it is the best news ever proclaimed. The good news is that God offers us an abundant life right in the midst of this kind of a world; that He gives us an obligate, a second melody, to sing and superim­pose upon the strident discords of our day; that when we sin we should not run from God but to Him; that Christ lives in us and that God is glorified when we set Christ free through faith, verbally affirming Him and walking by His words. Indeed, Christ will live through us in each situa­tion and God's will really can be done in situations on earth as it is in heaven.

However, this does not happen without pain, struggle and many failures. "But if we really loved God, we would never fail him," is the lament of the frustrated. Nonsense! In the real world sometimes nothing succeeds like failure! Look again at the Bible. Have a look at Peter. There came a time when a little powerless maiden in­timidated him and though he knew Who Christ was, he denied it. But why do we become so judgmental about Peter? He was living in the real

world. He was frightened, tired, cold, confused, and the instinct for survival dominated. So Peter lied and ran off into the darkness, defeated, ashamed, frustrated and desolate. But failure in one situation did not ruin Peter's track record. In­deed, he became one of the great leaders of the early Christians.

Again, look at Elijah, standing before the altar of God. The lightning flashes upon the altar and consumes the sacrifice. The priests of the pagan gods Baal and Asherah fall back in confusion, disorder and awe at the mighty works of God. This mighty victory against his pagan opponents made it Elijah's finest hour.

But when the cheering had scarcely died down, he received a message from the wicked queen Jezebel that she would have his life for his deeds. Elijah was back in the real world again. His faith collapsed in this situation and he fled. Even though he had just seen that the God of fire and thunder was with him, he fled in panic from the venom of an angry woman.

But God did not leave him to frustration. In­
stead, He sent an angel who said, in effect, "God
knows you're tired, weak and hungry. So get
something to eat—you live in a mortal body that is
subject to moods, so take care toil."  -

So if you're worn to a frazzle, weak and ir-ritable, you're a likely candidate for frustration. God knows that. So instead of sitting around wondering why you're not Joan of Arc, go take a shower, get something to eat, put on a clean shirt and tie, or your prettiest dress. Ask God's forgiveness, accept it and stop whipping yourself ' to pieces because you blew one situation.

The Lord did not condemn Elijah for faltering in a situation. He simply affirmed His presence within his heart and told him what to do next. That was the way God worked in Elijah's world and in the world of Peter, and that is how He still works today. There was no word of condemnation, no raging lecture about how weak they had shown themselves, just loving, healing, forgiveness, and preparation for the next situation they had to face.

So when faith falters, when you fret and fall apart, and when you are frustrated by your own weakness and failure, remember that you have on­ly given in to frustration in that situation and that one situation does not make a lifetime. He has promised to forgive us seven times seventy. So get up and get going!

It is so much more satisfying to live in the real world, freed from false expectations from life. It is so exciting to parachute out of fantasyland, which is nothing but illusion and disappointment, into the real world where we find exactly what Jesus said we'd find. ' 'In this world you will have trou­ble. But take heart! I have overcome the world " (John 16:33 NIV). He told us what to expect and then promised us victory!

But how can we speak victory into existence, how can we speak victory over Satan if we do not believe Christ lives in us? By ourselves, we have no power over him. But when we release Christ, it is He who brings the power to bear. It is Christ Who conquers evil, not us.

Frustrated people have great difficulty believing that the Lord Jesus Christ, the mighty Lord of the universe, can become small enough to make His home in each of us. They can see Him on the mountain, but they have trouble believing He is also a valley God.

Faced with this problem, a lady once said to me, "My mind simply refuses to accept the fact that God the Father, the Mighty Creator, can love me, forgive me and be concerned about me personally."

 

My heart went out to her. Her God was too big, mighty, and proud. Her God was so big He could never be concerned about such things as broken tricycles, wasp stings, cruel playmates, stubbed toes, and knees that got skinned on sharp rocks at school.

Her God was so almighty, so omnipotent and so super colossal the very last thing He'd do would be crucified on a felon's cross in a little postage stamp country somewhere. Her God would have to assemble the world before a giant television screen and then die by the blast of a five hundred megaton hydrogen bomb. If God had died in some fantastic production like that, while the world watched in awe, she might have believed. That is the way a big God should die, if He has to die at all.

You could never get her to come out of the fan­tasy world and see the real God dying the real world between two thieves, hung up on two big timbers stuck in the mud in a driving rainstorm.

But whoever faces life as it is knowing in his heart that Jesus Christ is the Lord of all eternity and that He is the Lord of life and of death, will never have to back off from reality and live in frustration because of false expectations from life. Christ does not back off from the real world, because He made it and although He allows evil in it, He is still Lord of it.

God does not keep His eyes on our failures. He keeps His eyes on the goal He has in mind for us. That is why He is not distracted by our failures and that is why He is always especially tender towards those who have honest doubts.

That is why the frustrating darkness has to flee when He appears for He is The Light—and if there is anything that frustrates darkness, it is light.

St. John knew this. He had heard Jesus declare that He was the "Light of the world " (John 8:12). So he wrote in the very first exciting breath of his gospel, "The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not put it out '' (John 1:5, Amplified Bible).

Did John know what he was writing about? And are we speaking about the real, everyday world that I face every morning when I stumble out of bed, brush my teeth and drink my coffee in preparation for the day? Is there really a light powerful enough to pierce the darkness of this world? Does it make genuine changes in the way people live their lives in the real world?

Believe me, we are talking about the real world and real people. If you will only see through the eyes of faith, you will see the Light of God blazing so brilliantly in the lives of such a number of His

people that you will be able to face the frustrating situations of life with renewed hope. I tell you, the Light is still shining and darkness cannot put it out.

Look at the lives of Bill and Jean Wright. Talk about frustration! Talk about having one's objec­tives thwarted! In the past few years, Bill has had cancer,their son was killed in Vietnam, and Jean has been struck with a terminal disease. But they have not been beaten. They have put their trust in Him and His Light has enabled them to face and conquer the frustration of devastating cir­cumstances. His Light has enabled Jean to say that despite their sufferings, the past year has "been the greatest year of our lives.''

So place your faith in Him, join with His peo­ple, and receive His Light. And once you have His Love and Light in your life, He will give you the transforming power which will enable you to con­quer frustration. His Light will overcome the bit­terness and hurt of the past. His Light will enable you to face the frustrations of daily life and to over­come them. His Light will blot out the irritations which trouble you.

Yes, God has a wonderful future planned for you. Frustration can be conquered and it is in His plan that you overcome it. Live in His Light and love and His plan will become a reality in your life.

The battle is on. The lines are drawn. Go forth in His strength. Let your confidence in Him be your shield. The battle may be long and difficult, but armed with His power and might you will be more than a survivor of the frustrations which plague your life. Indeed, you will be the victor and will experience the hope, peace, and joy which come with that great victory.


 

 

Chapter 7 from Winning Over Frustration, by Arnold Prater, 1980, Harvest House

 

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