One of the most popular books in the “Call Back Series” which is available in our Christian Book Store, is Frustration, the third in this series. I have heard many a person exclaim, “Frustration? That’s me. I’m frustrated!” And perhaps they echo what many of us feel on a regular basis. We live in a fallen world and life constantly frustrates us all in one way or another.
I guarantee that not one of you reading this, even if you have the reputation of a Job, can honestly say, “I have never been frustrated.” And who, looking into the future, can say with certainty, “Frustration is a thing of the past”? In a careful perusal of the lives of saints, we soon conclude that they, too, were often and sometimes dreadfully frustrated—frustrated by circumstances, by people, by themselves! And if God is in control of everything, why does He not do something about it? There we have it again—the theme of “God and Suffering.” And this book tells us how some of God’s children dealt with frustration.
Take John Wesley for example. On pages twenty to twenty-two, you can read the poem he penned after his disappointment over Grace Murray, the woman he loved yet never married. The circumstances behind this disappointment may be debated, but it remains a fact that he was planning to marry her and owing to the interference (some think timely, some cruel) of his brother and other well-meaning friends, he returned from a trip to find her married off to one of his outstanding preachers, John Bennet. Perhaps, to be honest, frustration by no means fully describes what John felt when he discovered that he had lost his beloved. Yet it is certainly true that he had been frustrated in his hopes and desires and so pens this poem. A few stanzas are quoted below:
“Amazed I cried, ‘Surely for me
A help prepared of Heaven thou art!
Thankful I take the gift from Thee
O Lord, and naught on earth shall part
The souls that Thou has joined above
In lasting bonds of sacred love.’
“Abashed she spoke, ‘O what is this?
Far above all my boldest hope!
Can God beyond my utmost wish,
Thus lift His worthless handmaid up?
This only could my soul desire!
This only had I dared require!’
“From that glad hour, with growing love
Heaven’s latest, dearest, gift I view’d;
While pleased each moment to improve,
We urged our way with strength renewed,
Our one desire, our common aim,
T’ extol our gracious Master’s Name.
“Such was the friend, than life more dear,
Whom in one luckless, baleful hour,
(Forever mentioned with a tear!)
The tempters unresisted power
(O the unutterable smart!)
Tore from my inly-bleeding heart!
“Unsearchable Thy judgments are,
O Lord! A bottomless abyss!
Yet sure Thy love, Thy guardian care,
O’er all Thy works extended is!
Why didst Thou the blessing send?
Or why thus snatch away my friend?. . .
“What Thou hast done I know not now;
Suffice I shall hearafter know!
Beneath Thy chast’ning hand I bow;
That still I live to Thee I owe.
O teach thy deeply-humbled son,
Father, to say, ‘Thy will be done!’”