James 1:4 “Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
Frustration … the irritating, discouraging, feather-ruffling feeling of being thwarted happens to us all once in a while. You have a plan and it gets foiled. A problem you thought you had solved reappears. A person you trusted lets you down. Disappointment is inevitable in this life, but how we handle it reveals our true character. In fact, these frustrations are actually stepping-stones to spiritual maturity.
I lay awake a good portion of the night listening to the heavy rains battering the roof above my head. The winds and torrents made me uneasy since the last downpour caused a steady drip to appear in Abigail’s bedroom ceiling. We had this leak issue temporarily repaired, but had been warned that it could happen again unless we had our 75-year-old metal roof replaced. The morning brought sunlight peeking in the window and I dashed to the suspect bedroom to check out the situation. Thankfully things appeared to be no worse.
Relieved I headed downstairs to make breakfast. Realizing I needed a certain ingredient stored in our basement I descended the wooden stairs into the depths of the house. As soon as I turned the corner I saw it: a pool of water covered half of the cement floor and was creeping towards the shelves where I kept extra pantry items.
I couldn’t believe it. All night I had worried about the roof and the water issue cropped up at the other end of the house. The sump pump had stopped working and several hundred gallons of water had overflowed into our basement. “ARGHHHH!!!!” Over the past few years we have had one water issue after another in this old house and I was frustrated. Would we ever get all these issues solved?
Hours later, after dad and Luke had carried out buckets of water, I had moved many stored items, and the plumber had replaced the faulty sump pump, I thought about the situation a little more clearly. Our water problems weren’t about owning an old house. These kinds of difficulties happen anywhere you live. Nothing is perfect. Frustration creeps into our lives in many different ways. And a wise person needs to face each new struggle with patience and perseverance.
God’s plan for His children includes helping us mature into strong believers and brighter lights for His glory. He could easily prevent every type of mishap from occurring in our lives, but this would not help us grow. How we respond to the difficulties and frustrations we face prove whether or not we are growing in our faith and character. What attitude do we sport when things go wrong? Do we complain and steam with anger or do we take the opportunity to rely on God’s strength and wisdom to solve the problem?
In the whole scheme of things a little water in the basement is only a blip in a lifetime of experiences. We cleaned it up and moved on. But this mishap also provided a beneficial advantage to last for eternity. It was yet another opportunity to persevere despite frustration, to develop character, and to give glory to God.
So next time an unexpected problem threatens to ruin your day, don’t let it. Change your perspective and consider the frustration a stepping-stone to spiritual maturity. It will make all the difference.
Sandra Sheridan is a midwest wife and mother of five. She shares her letters to her children with our readers. Visit her at www.VersesFromMama.com.