Friday, September 20, 2013

Faithful Friday: Am I wrong for thinking Jesus probably got frustrated?

Yesterday we had one of those family moments when everyone hit the frustration wall, so all little things become more than they are.

The straw-breaking episode included the need to sign up for a school software program with no instructions, three tired people, and a printer. Printers are jerks--I don't even think I need to explain the situation further for everyone to understand.

Everything culminated into a moment of serious frustration and I pretty much said "No. I'm done. Please leave me. Go to bed. My batteries are dead. Plug me in and try again tomorrow."

And then I felt incredibly guilty, because that's not a great way to send your kid to bed or thank your husband for giving up the office so you could have a new workspace and battling the jerk printer on your behalf.

But I started thinking. Do you think Jesus ever got frustrated? I mean, he was dealing with a lot more than a printer and a band program. There were people following him all the time, demanding that he heal them, feed them, teach them. And his helpers weren't always that great. Were there times Jesus looked at the disciples and said, "I'm done. My batteries are dead. Plug me in and try again tomorrow?"

I know there are people that probably gasp at the thought. Jesus was perfect, right? That was the entire point: God sent his Son to be the perfect atonement for our sins, because we could not.

But can you seriously tell me that Jesus never looked at Peter and said, "No, Peter. Just . . . stop. I'm done. We'll try again tomorrow"? Have you read the stories about Peter in the gospels? It had to happen at least once, right?

Except I think Jesus probably handled it a lot better than I ever do. In fact, he probably didn't say, "Peter, just be quiet and let me think a minute" or "You guys just get in this boat and leave me alone for a few minutes, because I've had about all I can handle."

Oh. Wait. Except for that one time he did do that. He probably didn't say that part about having all he can handle. But he did put the disciples in the boat and shoo them off for a while. You should probably check out the original story in Matthew 13 & 14, but here's the gist of what happened:

Jesus heard that his cousin had been killed, so he planned to go off with his close friends--the disciples--and be alone for a while. But word got out, and crowds met him where he was going. Thousands of them. And it was a remote place, and most people didn't bring anything to eat. The disciples asked Jesus to send the crowds away to get food, but Jesus told the disciples to feed them instead.

At this point, the disciples are all shrugging and hands up in the air, because there isn't enough food to feed 5,000 people. There's only this one boy with a few fish and some bread. "It's impossible, Jesus," they say, even though they know he did that thing with the water and wine.

And Jesus has to walk his disciples through another faith-building moment, and they feed the 5,000 people, and then the crowd wants to make Jesus an earthly king. As if he doesn't have enough on his plate, right? He just wanted to be alone for a moment to grieve, and here he is teaching the disciples and feeding the multitudes and avoiding earthly plans because he knows where he is in God's plan.

It had to be frustrating. Even for Jesus.

But he doesn't lash out with hurtful words or slam pots around in the kitchen baskets of bread around on the hillside. He also doesn't sigh deeply, put on a forlorn countenance, and push ahead with the work. Because he recognizes the need for some alone time with God.

Jesus simply puts the disciples in a boat and says he'll join them on the other side of the water. He sends the well-fed crowd away, probably telling them there will be another day. And then, he goes up on the mountain alone. In the quiet of the evening, he prays. He spends time with God. He refills his batteries. He gets ready to try again tomorrow.

So, I think the answer is yes, probably Jesus got frustrated and tired and hit the wall where he was done for the day. That doesn't make him less perfect--yes, he's God. But he was also a man. The fact that he experienced the time of exhaustion and frustration we all experience just means we now know what to do when we're hitting the frustration wall: Find the quiet place and spend some time recharging our batteries with God.

Now I just have to remember that when I'm getting close to the wall . . .


  1. Great advice: "when we're hitting the frustration wall: Find the quiet place and spend some time recharging our batteries with God." Thank you for writing this. Jennifer

    1. Thanks Jennifer. It's one of those bits of advice I struggle to follow myself, but when I do, life tends to come with a lot less shouting.

  2. I really love your eyes. The way they see things that we've all looked at forever and no longer really see. Thank you for this post, awesome.

    1. Thanks Susie. I teach youth Sunday school. I learn to see things differently through the eyes of kids in junior high and high school. Some of the observations they make are incredible. ;)