Summary: Through 4:16. There is no way to eliminate the frustrations of life. But we can embrace a strategy to help us to handle those frustrations in the best way. Of course that starts with a personal relationship to God, and Solomon will get to that later in
A Lifelong Strategy Against Frustration
1. There are many frustrations in life, some of them are very serious:
Mixed with bitter sorrow and emptiness is often the feeling of frustration. My Moody buddy John Smith ministers in Mexico.
When he lived in the U.S., no one would believe that his real name was John Smith. He had to carry all sorts of identification with him.
John has requested prayer for:
-a native American (Indian) pastor in a tribal area of Mexico with six children just lost his wife as a martyr, as the tribe has been threatening them for a long time to stop the evangelism efforts.
People like this are the REAL heroes in my book. The world praises humanitarians (like Mother Theresa), but Bible-oriented Christians should use people who lay down their lives not just for humanitarian causes (important as they are), but for the faith of the Gospel and trying to win others to Jesus.
But think of what those kids and that husband feels.
2. Many of us find it a challenge even to deal with minor frustrations:
a. You call to straighten out a bill, and are put on hold for half an hour.
b. You make a mad dash to the phone to be greeted by a sales person.
c. You run to the store to buy an item you desperately need to find out that they are out of stock or don’t have the right size.
d. You are in the left lane, but the driver ahead of you doesn’t put his turn signal on until it is too late to return to the right lane.
e. My brother-in-law once had the most frustrating dream: had put in a full day at work, ready to leave for home….and the alarm went off…time to get dressed and go to work!
4. Deep frustrations have literally driven people to murder, suicide, insanity, or deep, deep depression.
5. Frustrating marriages, children, jobs, parents, neighbors, and even entire societies bring big time misery to millions every day. Think of how frustrated some of the folks are in California who have lost their lives to fire!
9. So how do we make the best of frustration? Sometimes, our best efforts do little.
Proposition: There is no way to eliminate the frustrations of life. But we can embrace a strategy to help us to handle those frustrations in the best way. Of course that starts with a personal relationship to God, and Solomon will get to that later in Ecclesiastes. But, assuming you are living for the Lord, what else can you do?
TS------ We can repeatedly make four choices that help us handle frustration in the best possible way.
I. Choose Reality: Expect Frustration (3:16-4:1-3)
1. Injustice abounds even where it should be defended, but God will even the score (16-17)
(1) corrupt courts
(2) the American system is corrupt, but probably the least corrupt of any leading world power in all of history
(3) In Ecclesiastes 5:8, Solomon warns us, “ If you see the poor oppressed in a district, and justice and rights denied, do not be surprised at such things; for one official is eyed by a higher one, and over them both are others higher still.”
(4) Right now, we are seeing the homosexual community invade the realm of the family with adoption rights and marital benefits; it will get worse. Expect it. We Christians will continue to be labeled as extreme and narrow: it will get worse, expect it. Be angry, but don’t be surprised! Get your head out of the sand! Stop living in the past.
2. People are as vulnerable to death as are mere animals (3:18-22)
(1) Verse 18 is fascinating. God tries to get us to see something about ourselves that we would rather not see: that despite our sophistication, we all die like dogs!
(2) Death itself does not set apart the dignity of mankind. The nature of death itself does not indicate that the life of animals is dissipated while the human spirit returns to its Maker.
(3) We understand the difference by God’s revelation, not human reason: Ecclesiastes 12:6-7 reads,
“Remember him--before the silver cord is severed, or the golden bowl is broken; before the pitcher is shattered at the spring, or the wheel broken at the well, and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.”
(4) what about animals/pets?
3. People Are Oppressed (4:1-3)
(1) certain segments of society are taken advantage of …
(2) Marxists thought this unfair, so they created societies where EVERYONE was taken advantage of…
(3) It can get to the point where life seems a burden, and death better than misery…
4. Sometimes we contribute toward advancing justice or helping the oppressed; we can reduce the problem for a time,, but we will never eliminate it; nor will solutions last forever…but we should not deny reality! This is life for millions of people!