“Why would the Lord be frustrated with you? What would that accomplish?” my spiritual director asked me during our last meeting.
While I had spent days being frustrated with myself (and assuming the Lord was, too), I had never looked at it in quite that light. And in some ways, I didn’t want to. It was easier to assume that the Lord was throwing up His hands and sadly shaking His head in my direction.
“Why would He be frustrated with you?”
Because it seems like He should be. I am–why wouldn’t He be?The problem I have is thinking that God responds in the same way that I do. I often get frustrated and upset with people I love very much. It doesn’t mean I don’t love them. Sometimes people just bother me. And I apply that logic to God. I know He loves me, but isn’t He also frustrated with me at times? It is difficult to picture Him never being so. I live with me all of the time and though I like myself, I know I am ridiculous and foolish at times.
The deep, enduring, gentle, all-encompassing love of God is something I am trying to understand. It has a richness that I cannot fathom. My spiritual director reminded me of the way that God handles my heart. He is infinitely patient and always gentle. And sometimes I think I deserve more of the tough love version of God. Sometimes that is what I think I want.
At times, I want that from my spiritual director, too. I want to go in, tell him how foolish I am being, and then hear him call me out. “Trish, stop doing the stupid things you are doing. Be more dedicated and serious. Get it together.” But he never does. Rather, he listens and then defends me from me. He doesn’t get frustrated with me and in that, he is revealing to me the face of God the Father. Patient, gentle, challenging me to grow but always in a way that leaves me feeling built-up rather than torn apart. God knows I do the tearing apart job on my own.
He instructed me to recall how God has worked with this heart in the past. And I went to my favorite place: the Potter’s house. That lovely Potter knew how much work the clay needed and yet what did He do? He let me sit next to Him, lean my head on His shoulder, and rest. For a weary heart frustrated with battling herself, it was the best remedy. Sitting there, I told the Potter that I do not understand this love. It is too much for me to grasp. But I need it.
I try to dismiss the workings of my heart, but the Lord never does. He values each emotion, thought, and fleeting hope. These are not bothersome to Him. He does not give up on me, even when I give up on myself. The Lord has an incredible, unconquerable love. He has a fierce intensity and an enduring gentleness.
The Lord cannot be frustrated. This is a love I need to understand more fully. This is a heart I need to immerse my own into. This is the Bridegroom of my soul.
“His own designs shall stand for ever, the plans of his heart from age to age….From the place where he dwells he gazes on all the dwellers on the earth, he who shapes the hearts of them all and considers all their deeds….Our soul is waiting for the Lord. The Lord is our help and our shield. In him do our hearts find joy. We trust in his holy name. May your love be upon us, O Lord, as we place all our hope in you.” (Psalm 33)