Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.
So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed
two days longer in the place where he was.
… Did I not tell you that if you believed
you would see the glory of God?
John 11:5-6, 40 ESV
The frustration that Mary and Martha felt towards Jesus over the illness and death of their brother, Lazarus, was shared by the disciples. For the disciples, there was the added irritation that not only, after three days, would Lazarus be dead, but also that Jesus would be putting himself, and them, at risk if they went to Bethany. Their courage was not in question even if their faith was, as Thomas showed when he said to the others, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” (John 11:16 ESV). How do we deal with our frustration at events and circumstances, at the behavior of others or even, at times, with the behavior of God Himself? This first of three brief posts on the theme of frustration comes from C. S. Lewis.
C. S. Lewis wrote: “The second enemy [of the scholar in war-time] is frustration – the feeling that we shall not have enough time to finish. If I say to you that no one has time to finish, that the longest human life leaves a man, in any branch of learning, a beginner, I shall seem to you to be saying something quite academic and theoretical. You would be surprised if you knew how soon one begins to feel the shortness of the tether, of how many things, even in middle life, we have to say, ‘No time for that,’ ‘Too late now,’ and ‘Not for me.’ But Nature herself forbids you to share that experience. A more Christian attitude, which can be attained at any age, is that of leaving futurity in God’s hands. We may as well, for God will certainly retain it whether we leave it to Him or not. Never, in peace or war, commit your virtue or your happiness to the future. Happy work is best done by the man who takes his long-term plans somewhat lightly and works from moment to moment ‘as to the lord’. It is only our daily bread that we are encouraged to ask for. The present is the only time in which any duty can be done or any grace received.”
From C. S. Lewis in The Weight of Glory.