Coping with Inveterate Frustration
Does it have to culminate in a time-bomb?
Be honest. As you assimilate the daily fare of what passes today for news and surf the Internet for greater clarification, insight and temerity of reporting on national and world events, do you not find yourself growing increasingly more filled with wonder and angst? Are you not increasingly amazed—if not outright stunned—by the seeming stupidity displayed in the inane workings of Congress, the decisions emanating from our courts and the bizarre leadership from the White House? Are you increasingly irked over what you perceive to be continually deteriorating moral, social and economic conditions in our country?
Are you bothered by the ever increasing intrusion and control of the federal government in our lives? Have you been weighing the increasing loss of personal freedom being experienced in this nation in the name of national security while concomitantly watching the deterioration of our borders as border patrol agents are being ordered to stand down? Are you at all upset over the outrageous misuse of our military in violating the sovereignty of multiple nations around the world? Are you deeply troubled that we no longer have a working tri-lateral governmental balance of power enabled through a legitimate two-party system and an honest watchdog press?
If these kinds of issues are part and parcel to your daily processing of life and events, you are probably among many today who are growing an ever increasing sense of angst. I want to suggest to you that the source of this frustration isn’t to be found in the existence of major national and international problems and events. We—the American people, the everyday working stiffs who once comprised the warp and woof of a great, God-fearing, productive nation which once exported aid and goodwill to peoples around the globe—have historically demonstrated initiative, resolve and stamina in responding to and resolving whatever has been thrown at us. No, it is not the issues themselves that are causing ever increasing numbers of Americans to grit their teeth and suck it up each new day with a deepening sense of abiding frustration. Most people I know are not afraid of challenges and trials; they are more than willing to face the typical problems served up through the conduct of daily life.
The rankling so affecting the common man today is playing in a game with a stacked deck! It is being called on to run a race and than being hamstrung. It is wagering on life—in the sense that one takes responsibility for his life decisions with a willingness to accept the consequences of his choices—and then discovering that the game has been rigged. This growing frustration derives from having to encounter issues and problems for which you are prevented from resolving. It is like being asked to bail out a sinking ship with a thimble. No matter how much energy, concern, effort and good intentions you invest, you are destined to lose.
What I have been describing is a condition of hopelessness. Inveterate frustration is simply the psychological and emotional response in the face of lose/lose situations. This state usually progresses to outright bitterness. When these conditions become protracted and widespread, they usually spawn socially unacceptable behaviors resulting in the loss of life and property. Even a casual perusal of US history will serve to illustrate and verify this truth. In isolated pockets where people have been denied the free opportunity to survive and succeed in life, there have been violent disruptions with consequential losses. We are now on the cusp of a nation-wide uprising of persons who have been premeditatedly, systematically subjected to insurmountable odds and unwinnable circumstances.
There are no solutions to resolving a 19 trillion dollar debt that leaves Joe Average financially intact. There are no political mechanisms available to rectify the aberrant behavior of a government whose three branches are conjoined in their efforts to placate the will of the elitist bankers, industrialists and big business interests. The American people are left without appeal when the judicial system is no longer dedicated to upholding the tenets, principles and intent of the US Constitution. Joe Citizen is left legally and morally adrift when the very governmental agencies originally designed to protect him and his interests—agencies such as the FBI, CIA, BLM, FEMA, CDC, EPA—are instead utilized by the controlling elites to exploit him to enrich the few. For those who have availed themselves of the abundant documentation exposing the detrimental activities of HAARP and especially the effects of chem-trailing, they are left with mostly a feeling of helplessness in considering just how one may counter such malicious and bazaar behavior. How does one successfully oppose the nefarious activity of Monsanto whose hell-bent efforts to adulterate and poison our entire food supply through GMO’s is protected by the federal government?
The list of life-altering situations confronting Americans today for which there are seemingly no solutions goes on. There are those who have chosen the path of denial, refusing to see and acknowledge the reality surrounding them. However, man will invariably respond in one of two manners when squeezed into an untenable situation. He will either become completely demoralized succumbing to his circumstances or he will react violently in a last ditch effort to survive and overcome. Is it possible that there could be a third option to the many insurmountable and seemingly unwinnable conditions facing a once great nation? Although it could conceivably become necessary to check an aberrant government through revolution as set forth in the writings of our founding fathers, wouldn’t it be foolish to pursue that remedy prior to exhausting all other options?
I am directing my thoughts here specifically to Christians and to the church of Jesus Christ, to all those called to live in this world but not be of this world. As followers of Christ, we are instructed that our citizenship has shifted from the temporal world—its values, interests and pursuits—to the Kingdom of God. Given this transition our hearts should be embracing all that our heavenly Father has deemed worthy and that fulfills his heart from eternity past. If we are in fact following Christ—seeking to emulate his life, values and goals—shouldn’t the spiritual impact of such living necessarily influence for the better our surroundings and culture? It is no mystery that from the beginning when God called Abraham to make him a mighty nation that God intended to make himself known to all humanity through his people. Today those of us who confess Christ as Lord and Savior comprise that “mighty nation” through whom the Lord still desires to express himself to a lost people.
Given the examples above of the deep corruption and brokenness of our nation, could it be that the church—our collective witness—has miserably failed in its calling and mandate? Could we be so spiritually emaciated in confronting our culture with the Spirit of Christ that we are now witnessing the results of two centuries of deteriorating morals, values and priorities? When our founding fathers conceived our form of government, they were astute enough to recognize that only a moral people could maintain it.
Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other (John Adams, October 11, 1798).
I don’t believe our founders were attempting to create a Christian nation per se but I do believe they were—by and large—minimally theists who recognized that no nation could prosper or even survive sans the providence of almighty God. This truth is further evidenced by the request for prayer in the 1787 Constitutional Convention by Benjamin Franklin:
I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth – that God Governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?
What we have experienced in this nation is a gradual systematic purging of anything biblical and God-attesting from the warp and woof of our culture. In essence the church has acquiesced to a concerted intentional effort to eradicate every vestige of any reference of God from public life. I am saying that the church has acquiesced in that in its spiritually emaciated state it has offered little to no resistance to this nation destroying effort. I don’t see this acquiescence as a corporate reality but rather as the failure of all of us as individuals to fully live up to the mandates of Scripture.
As further evidence of the effects of this effort consider the observations of Alexis de Tocqueville—a 19th Century political thinker and historian—whose memory would be fresh with the horrors of the French Revolution:
Religion in America takes no direct part in the government of society, but it must be regarded as the foremost of the political institutions of that country; for if it does not impart a taste for freedom, it facilitates the use of it. Indeed, it is in this same point of view that the inhabitants of the United States themselves look upon religious belief.
I do not know whether all Americans have a sincere faith in their religion—for who can search the human heart?—but I am certain that they hold it to be indispensable to the maintenance of republican institutions. This opinion is not peculiar to a class of citizens or a party, but it belongs to the whole nation and to every rank of society.
In the United States, the sovereign authority is religious…there is no country in the world where the Christian religion retains a greater influence over the souls of men than in America, and there can be no greater proof of its utility and of its conformity to human nature than that its influence is powerfully felt over the most enlightened and free nation of the earth (Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, 1830).
This failure on the part of the church to check the spiritual deterioration of the culture is not principally a failure to do something as it is a failure to be something. That power that holds in sway the natural persuasions of moral decay is a spiritual power. It is a power that exists by virtue of the presence of God in his people. This power is overtly manifested as they give themselves to him through the transformational life in Christ. When we live the self-denying life taking up our cross daily, we experience a spiritual becoming—a being conformed to the image of Christ. This is a life that requires absolute commitment, dedication and focus on the demands of the Christian faith. It is a life that must rediscover exactly what Jesus meant when he calls one to “come and follow.”
As you consider the plight of our nation and the potential disastrous circumstances which could soon impact your life, where will you shake out? Will you deny that which is obvious for all who have eyes to see? Will you choose to embrace the meme that asserts “we’ve been through difficult times before and things have always tended to work out eventually? Will you recognize that your back is to the wall and either succumb or opt for a revolutionary response? Or do you recognize the incredible spiritual implications in this whole scenario and choose to take personal stock and set up new spiritual aspirations which emulate Paul’s heart when he averred:
I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me (Phil 3:12 NLT).
We are in the spiritual battle of our lives. There are no “natural” solutions to remedy the moral and spiritual morass in which we find ourselves. Surely we must know that “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.” The only hope our nation has is if the providence of God superintends the workings of our country. This will never transpire unless the people of God fall on their faces in repentance, confess their sins and choose to make the pursuit of God their principal occupation. We must seek to deepen and refine our relationship with the Lord in a manner that invites his supernatural manifestations in and through our daily comings and goings.