Identify Your Frustration

while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.”

1 Kings 19:4

In this passage, Elijah’s frustration is clearly expressed to God in his prayer.

  1. Have you ever felt like you’ve had enough?
  2. Can you relate to his frustration and anxiety?
  3. Have you ever expressed this to God?
  4. What was the result?

What are the things that drive us to frustration? Make a list.

Are you…

  • Frustrated with life’s problems?
  • Frustrated with other people?
  • Frustrated with God, feeling like He doesn’t care or has abandoned us?

Reaction to Frustration

11 “Therefore I will not keep silent;
    I will speak out in the anguish of my spirit,
    I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.
12 Am I the sea, or the monster of the deep,
    that you put me under guard?
13 When I think my bed will comfort me
    and my couch will ease my complaint,
14 even then you frighten me with dreams
    and terrify me with visions,
15 so that I prefer strangling and death,
    rather than this body of mine.
16 I despise my life; I would not live forever.
    Let me alone; my days have no meaning.

17 “What is mankind that you make so much of them,
    that you give them so much attention,
18 that you examine them every morning
    and test them every moment?

Job 7:11-18

Take a look at Job.

  1. How does Job deal with his frustration? Is this the way you deal with yours?
  2. How honest are you with God in prayer? Is there bitterness toward people or toward Him that you’ve refused to pray about? When you answer this question, think about those closest to you and about how God has moved in your life recently.
  3. When you’re frustrated, do you shut down or do you become determined to work it out through your relationship with God?

The whole Israelite community set out from the Desert of Sin, traveling from place to place as the Lord commanded. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. So they quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.”

Moses replied, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you put the Lord to the test?”

But the people were thirsty for water there, and they grumbled against Moses. They said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst?”

Then Moses cried out to the Lord, “What am I to do with these people? They are almost ready to stone me.”

Exodus 17:1-4

  1. When Moses was frustrated, who did he speak to first, God or the people?
  2. Think about the last few problems you were frustrated with. Who did you go to first to solve them?

The Lord detests lying lips,
    but he delights in people who are trustworthy.

Proverbs 12:22

In our frustration, God would rather us be honest with Him and express how we feel—even when we have negative emotions towards Him. Fear can drive us to be dishonest with God about our emotions, not wanting to be shunned or cursed by God. However, the scriptures teach us that God desires honesty above superficial worship.

Follow Up

  1. Finish reading 1 Kings 19 and answer the following questions:
    1. What is God’s response to Elijah’s frustration?
    2. Does God answer Elijah’s prayer?
    3. Will He answer yours?
  2. Memorize these two scriptures:
    1. Matthew 11:28-30
    2. 1 Peter 5:7-9
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