There is a high cost to pay to live in constant frustration: broken relationships, unsatisfying jobs, or maybe even bad health. Dr. Stanley shows how the real source of irritation comes from within. God is ready to help you identify and deal with it when you ask Him. Learn how to let Christ replace your anxiety with His peace. For more messages from Charles Stanley, including this week’s broadcast, go to

A man who’s simply studying the
scriptures to find out

if this is true or if
that’s true,

he can miss the whole point.

When a man is studying the Word
of God and being sustained by it

as a disciple, he moves to a
point of obedience.

A true disciple is searching the
Word of God for the principles

of God to make application in
His life that He might become

more like God.




male announcer: “In Touch,” the
teaching ministry of Dr. Charles

Stanley, reaching the world with
the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Next on “In Touch,”
“When We Feel Frustrated.”

Dr. Charles Stanley:
Sometimes without warning,

you and I find ourselves
stepping into a valley we didn’t

ask for and we can’t
do anything about.

And oftentimes the
instant response within us is

something we cannot control,

something we cannot
change, something we can

do absolutely nothing about.

And I want to say to you today
that walking in that valley,

oftentimes, is a very
frustrating situation.

And sometimes we walk in
it a long time, and then,

all of a sudden,
something happens.

And I want to say to you today,
before I preach this message,

that I know what it
means to be frustrated.

I know what it means to feel
helpless and not knowing

which way to turn next.

And then I can tell you today
that something can happen in

your heart that
quietens your spirit,

gives you a peace that
passes all human understanding,

gives you a joy that is
absolutely unspeakable and you

wonder how God can make your
heart so peaceful when your

circumstances have not changed.

That is the grace of God.

And I want to tell
you something else.

In the midst of those times
of frustration and anxiety

we go through, one of God’s
primary goals is to unveil just

how loving and sweet and kind
and gentle and faithful and

reliable and dependable He is.

And I can say to you
today that somewhere,

back yonder, months ago,
all that frustration left me,

and there came a peace and a
joy and a contentment that

I cannot explain to you.

Nor can I tell
you how to get it.

You know why I can’t
tell you how to get it?

Because it’s
something that God gives.

I can tell you, if
you’ll do a couple of things,

that you will set yourself up
for God to give you the greatest

sense of contentment in the
greatest turmoil of frustration.

Now, the title of
this message today is,

part of our series, “The
Source of Our Strength –

When Feeling Frustrated.”

And I want you to turn, if you
will, to Isaiah chapter 14.

Look, if you will,
at this one verse.

He says in verse 27,

“For the Lord of
hosts has planned,

who can frustrate it?”

That is, “Who can
frustrate His plans?”

“And as for His
stretched-out hand,

who can turn it back?”

So I want you to think
about this for a moment.

Who can move sovereignty?

Here’s a sovereign God who’s in
absolute control of all things.

Who can move Him,
shove Him, push Him?

Who can pull Him
and knock Him around?

If you are one of those
believers who thinks and feels

that you’re a victim of the
circumstances of other people or

your circumstances, then you’re
going to live in frustration all

your life, not knowing how
to respond and what to do.

But once you come to grips with
who God really and truly is and

begin to relate to Him on
the basis of who He is, not,

maybe, some erroneous
thinking about Him,

you’ll be amazed at
what happens to your life.

Now, when I think
about frustration,

I used to think about it the way
most people do until I began to

realize there’s a different
way to think about frustration.

And let me explain
what it is, first of all.

Frustration is that feeling
that I am being hindered,

there’s a barrier between me
and what I want to accomplish or

achieve, where I want to
get, where I want to go to,

something I want to
accomplish over here.

It may be in a
relationship with someone.

It may be something
in your business.

It may be something mechanical.

In fact, you can feel
frustrated about machinery,

about persons, about your pet
dog who won’t come when you keep

on calling him or you can feel
frustrated about lots of things.

But frustration says,
“Something is holding me back.

Something’s clipped my wings.
I can’t do what I want to do.”

And so, we want to do it.
We have a goal.

We have a desire, and
somehow, there’s something

there that keeps
holding us back.

Sometimes we know what it
is, sometimes we do not.

Now, the first thing I think we
need to look at is this: that

frustration isn’t
an external thing.

In other words, that person or
that thing or this situation,

circumstance can’t
frustrate me unless I allow it.

So, frustration has its
root on the inside of me,

not on the outside.

It is not
something on the outside.

Now, normally we want to
look for somebody to blame,

some circumstance
that we want to change.

“If I’da this or If I’da
that, if that would change,

he would change, she would
change, this would change.

If I had this, that, if
this hadn’t happened,

if I felt this way,
if I had good health.”

We can all think of a lot
of things in life that we

would like to change.

But you see, frustration is
not the result of all of that.

Those things in life or persons
or circumstances or situations

trigger something
that is already in us.

So, it’s probably one
of about three things.

Sometimes it is the inability
of a person to accept themselves

the way God made them.

For example, here’s
a person who says,

“Well, you know, no
matter what I do in life,

I won’t ever look any better.”

People are dissatisfied
with the way they look,

dissatisfied with their
talents and their gifts in life.

They look at other
people and say, “Well,

he can do that and she
can do this and they can

have that and she can have this.

And those families can have
these things and we can’t.

This is just my lot in life.
I don’t like it.”

And so, they live in a
state of frustration,

that somehow in life God’s dealt
them a bad deal and either He

forgot something
or He missed out,

He doesn’t love them as much.

And so, they just
live with this.

Friend, God never
intended for you to live

with that kind of frustration.

He doesn’t make any mistakes.

He doesn’t do everything the
way you and I would do it.

He doesn’t do anything–He
doesn’t do everything the

way–what we want Him to do, but
there is a level of frustration

because I don’t like my
circumstance and I don’t

like the way I am.

Well, there’s a second reason I
think there’s a root cause of

it, and that is the reluctance
to deal with things in the past.

And I think, in
many people’s lives,

one of the primary sources,
root causes of their level of

frustration, whether it’s
low, medium, or high level of

frustration is they won’t
deal with things in the past.

It may be something back
yonder in their childhood.

It may be some
mistake that they made,

some sin that they committed,
some real error in judgment that

brought about a lot of heartache
and suffering and pain.

And so what happens is they
just haven’t faced up with it.

And so, they want
to run from it.

And so they’re running all of
their life, trying to run from

something that happened
years and years ago.

Instead of dealing with it,
they keep on running from it.

Or maybe they can’t
even identify what it is.

They just know that something
back yonder is not right,

and sometimes it’s some
parental relationship.

Sometimes it’s someone having
to deal with a suicide of a

friend, as we mentioned before.

There are lots of
things back there.

So some people run.
They ignore them.

They deny them.
They live in a state of denial.

They just refuse to face it.
Everybody else is wrong.

There’s something
wrong with everybody else,

but not me, of course.

And so, instead of facing up to
something back there that has

made a real, indelible
impression upon them,

instead of facing up to it,
they just sort of live with it.

And so, the easiest
thing to do is to blame him,

her, it, to blame circumstance,
“If I had this, if I had that.”

Instead of dealing with the
past, that’s what they do.

Well, that doesn’t work either.

A third root cause of
frustration is our refusal to

deal with what we know is not
the will of God for our life

at the present time.

It’s one thing to be frustrated
over what–how we think God made

us, about what’s
happened in the past,

but what are the
present thing?

And there are many people who
live in a state of frustration

because they won’t deal
with a present day attitude

or habit in their life.

You see, if a person is bitter
or resentful or hostile or

unforgiving, it doesn’t make
any difference what you do,

you will never, never,
never escape frustration.

Because, first of all, God’s
not going to allow you to do it.

And secondly, a bitter spirit,
resentful hostility and anger,

an un-Christlike spirit, an
ungodly spirit towards someone

else is going to
create frustration

because you’re always
having to do what?

Defend yourself.

Prove that they’re
wrong, you’re right,

they are wrong, you’re
right, they’re wrong,

you’re right, they’re
wrong every time you see them.

Or if it’s some situation or
maybe it’s geographically,

whatever it might be.

And so people do
all kind of things.

And here’s what’s happening.

There are multitudes of people,
people who sit in church Sunday

after Sunday who
come to church uptight,

who stay there
uptight, who leave uptight,

who go home and live all
week long uptight, and

come back next week uptight.

They’ve heard the gospel.

They say, “Yes, I do believe.

Oh, I believe
the Bible from cover to cover.

I even believe the maps.
I believe it all.

I believe every part of it.”

And yet, what are they doing?

They are living
just like this…

They’re frustrated with life.

Well, what would you change?

“Well, I’d change
several things.”

Well, like what?

“Well, I’d change where
I live, what I drive,

where–what I wear.

I’d change my
geographical location.

I’d change my kids.

If my kids would just change.
I’d change my finances.

I’d change–and a lot of
things I’d change.”

Then what?
“Well, then I’d be happy.”

Oh, is that right?

You know what happens?
That doesn’t make you happy.

Because happiness is not
the result of circumstances.

Happiness is the result of
the condition of the heart.

There are people who have
nothing who are far happier than

people who have everything.

There are people who are known
by almost no one who are happier

than people who are
known by everyone.

You can name any and
every circumstance in life,

none of those things have
to do with happiness

and peace and joy.

And so what happens?

After a while they get
frustrated and they continue

to be frustrated and
they think, “Well,

must be something
wrong with me.”

So, one form of frustration that
is the result of our own doings

is very exhausting,
penalizing, and very,

oftentimes, costly in
many ways of our life.

But then I’m grateful that I
don’t have to stop there to say

that there’s another form of
frustration that is exciting.

You say, “Well, how in the world
can anything that treats

you like that be exciting?”

Well, just listen.

Because there is a form
of it that is exciting.

I want you to look back
at this twenty seventh

verse for a moment.

I just want us to read
it again and I want us

to read it several times,
but look at this.

He says, “For the Lord
of hosts has planned,

and who can frustrate it?

And as for His
stretched out hand,

who can turn it back?”

Now, what he’s referring to here
in this passage is the Assyrians

were going to attack Israel,
and they, later on in this

book, surrounded the
city of Jerusalem.

And I mean, they absolutely
didn’t have a ghost

of a chance of survival.

Next morning,
Israelites woke up.

What happened?

Thousands and thousands
and thousands and

thousands of dead Assyrians.

God took care of
them during the night.

What does he
say in this passage?

“The Lord of hosts has planned,
and who can frustrate it?

And as for His
stretched-out hand,” he says,

“who can turn it back?”

Now, there are periods of
frustration in our life that

have nothing to do with sin
or mistakes, necessarily.

And so, there is a difference in
that kind of frustration and the

kind we’ve been talking about.

And here’s what you’ll
discover when you notice that.

First of all, it’ll be a
frustration that you’re not–you

don’t feel driven
to prove something.

You are not blaming someone.

You can’t put your finger on a
circumstance that you really

think, “If I change that,
everything’ll be different.”

And so, that
frustration, oftentimes,

comes instantly,
without any warning.

Sometimes it comes as a

process over a period of time.

And somehow you
cannot identify its cause.

You see, most of the time when
it’s something that’s a result

of something inside of us that’s
going on that we are responsible

for, man, we’ve got a
whole lot of things we

can put our finger on.

But when it’s God’s frustration,
you can’t put your finger on it.

You look around
and you say, “Well,

it’s–no, it’s not that.

It’s not him.
It’s not her.

It’s not them.
It’s not these things.

It’s not what I don’t have.
It’s not what I have.”

And what you discover is this:
once you make the move that God

has in mind for
you, what happens

is the frustration’s over.

It’s gone!
It just disappears.

Now, what we have
to ask is this,

and that is, what
is God’s purpose?

Why would He frustrate us?

That is, why would He
suddenly put up a little

barrier, won’t let us move?

Why does He sort of stop us?

Why will He not let
things keep moving?

Because He’s got
something in mind.

Now, one of His primary purposes
is to bring us to a deeper

relationship with
Him in our character.

So what does He do?

He begins this frustration.

Let me explain sort of a
little bit how it works,

and then we’ll talk
about some examples of it.

There’s this sense of
restlessness that comes.

And you feel a
little frustrated.

“Well, I, you know, I
don’t know what’s going on.”

You can’t put your finger on it.

As I say, you can’t

you can’t identify.

And so you think,
“What’s going on?”

One of the purposes that
God begins to bring about

frustration and this
restlessness within us,

He wants to get our attention
about something about our life.

It’s probably something that
you and I never thought about,

never considered,
never gave it any thought.

And so we think, “Well,
you know, I must be sick.

Give me a couple of Bufferin.
I mean, do something.”

And what it is, it is a
restlessness that you

can’t put your finger on.

You just feel it.

Now, if you’re one of
those persons who runs to the

prescription bottle every
time you have a bad feeling,

you’re going to be
in real trouble.

And the trouble is you’re
going to miss God because,

oftentimes, He
sends restlessness

to bring us to focus.

Now, listen.
Think about this now.

If it is something that you
and I have not thought about,

most of the time God
doesn’t say, “There it is.”

But He brings this restlessness,
this sense of frustration.

God, you know, what’s happening?

Little by little, He begins
to move us in His direction.

And it is a time.

It is a process that
goes on within us.

Now, if I’m unwilling or if I
don’t realize how God operates,

I will find some reason
to run or to ignore or

to misinterpret
what’s happening.

And I’ll give credit to
my physical body or to

someone else or something.

I’ll find something
to blame it on.

But what I want you
to see is that some

frustration is divinely sent.

And His purpose is to deal
with an area we have not thought

about dealing with before.

And so, it takes time to listen.

Well, I remember, the first time
this ever became a reality to

me, my wife and I had
finished two years of seminary.

We’re finishing up the
second year and we were going to

Fresno, California to preach,
and I was going to

preach that summer
and she was going to sing.

That was going to
give us some experience,

and I’d never been a
pastor except one summer.

And so, she was going to lead
the choir in this little church,

didn’t have a pastor.

And so, we’re just gonna
go out there and fill

in for three months.

Man, we had it all worked up
and everything was just fine.

I can remember just
like it were today.

Saturday morning, I got
up early that morning,

began to pray, and
all of a sudden,

with no warning, I
remember how frustrated I felt.

I thought, “What’s going on?”

It’s like I was churning.

Nothing was wrong.
School was about out.

Grades were fine.
She was doing fine.

Our relationship was absolutely
wonderful, blissful.

I thought,
“What’s going on, God?”

I couldn’t find
anything to blame anything on.

I thought, “Uh-oh,
what’s going on?”

So, when she finally
got up and we–I said,

“I want us to pray,
something’s not right.”

She said, “Well, what is it?”

I said, “Well, I don’t know,
but let–” and we hadn’t been

married very long, and so, when
I’d come up with something

like that, she didn’t
quite understand that.

So I said, “Well, I
don’t know what it is,

but I’m telling you,
we’ve got to find out.”

Did you know we
prayed all morning?

We prayed almost–around
six o’clock in the

evening, all day long.

About that time we
concluded, those were our plans.

They weren’t God’s plans.

Now, suppose I’d have gotten
up and felt bad and I said,

“I need to go out and walk
or eat a big breakfast

or take a Bufferin
or something.”

In other words, “Let’s
go–let’s just go do something”?

You know what we’d have missed?

We’d have missed
the will of God,

that’s what we’d have missed.

We’d have missed the
will of God desperately.

And let me show you
how we’d have missed it.

We’d have missed it all
the way around because,

surprisingly to us, and it
was such a wonderful thing

that–then we
had to fight,

“God, You couldn’t
be saying this.

That sounds too
good and too easy.”

That was me.

We ended up spending three
months up at Lake Lure in North

Carolina, taking it easy,
if you can imagine that.

You say, “Well, that
doesn’t sound very spiritual.”

I know it doesn’t.

But you see, that’s the flesh.

That’s where God wanted us
because about the last week we

were up there, out
on the lake fishing,

this man came down
and he said–called me.

He says, “Your
name Charles Stanley?”

I said, “Yeah,” he said, “Are
you are a seminary student?”

I said, “yeah,” he said,
“Well, I want to talk to you.”

Came over, he said, “Pastor’s
going to be gone two weeks.

Will you preach in our church?”
I said, “Why, sure.”

So, to make a long story
short, I preached up there.

They called me.

I was pastor of that church
and taught in a Bible institute.

But suppose we’d
have said, “Nope.

We’re going to
Fresno no matter what.

That’s what God said.
We’re going”?

I’d have been out
of the will of God.

And I can look back and
see how, step by step,

in my life began–

If I’d have made that mistake,
I would never have been–

gotten to Fruitland.

I’d have never have gotten to
these places I’ve been in life

for the simple reason it

wouldn’t have
worked out that way.

The people, the person I would
never have met that finally

brought me to Miami,
Bartow, all those places.

It was the fact that God
frustrated me so badly that

morning, I couldn’t do a
thing but stay on my face

until I found out what He
was talking about.

Now, you say, “Well,
I’m not a pastor.”

It has nothing to do
with being a pastor.

It has to do with what is
the will of God for your life?

Listen, He loves you
just as much He loves me,

and He’s just as
interested in your job,

in your family, in your work,
in your children and your things

and your goals and your
ideals in life as He is

me or anyone else!

All He wants is when He
starts rustling up your nest and

getting you
frustrated, instead of blaming,

looking somewhere else,
first of all, look inside and

ask God, is there something
He wants to deal with?

And secondly,
look to Him and say,

“Lord, are You trying
to say something to me?”

Listen, at least
give Him a chance!

Don’t go running off somewhere
or blaming someone else or

trying to change
your circumstance.

It may be that God
is just loving you.

And you see, every single time
God has ever moved my life in

either what I believe or
where I was, it has always

been to my great,
great, great benefit.

You know why?
Because He’s a loving Father!

He’s not going to act
any other way than love.

That’s the only way
God knows how to act.

You say, “What about His wrath?”

Even in His wrath,
He’s–what is He doing?

He’s expressing love.

Because if He didn’t
condemn and judge sin,

all of us would be so reckless,
we wouldn’t be fit to live with.

And so what does He do?

That’s an
expression of His love.

It’s a warning to us.

And so, when you
think about how He works,

and He says in this passage,
“The Lord of hosts has planned,

who can frustrate Him?

His outstretched hand,
who can turn it back?”

Listen to me, God is so in
control of your life and my

life, we don’t have
to worry about what,

listen, we don’t have to
worry about what people

do to us or circumstances.

We belong to Him.

If we are listening to Him and
He sends these frustrations into

our life, don’t look
to somebody to blame.

Look to Him and
say, “God, are

You trying to say
something to me?

Do You want to change
something about my thinking,

my attitude, my
actions, my habits?

Do You want to change where
I am, what I’m doing?

Do You want to change my major?

Do You want to
change my occupation?

Do You want to
change my vocation?

What are You doing, God?”

He loves that.
You know what’ll happen?

That frustration will turn into
the most wonderful excitement

that you know that
God is up to something.

Now, there are two things.

Sometimes it’s a
process, and the process,

sometimes, is sort of prolonged.

You think, “God, what
are You waiting for?

Come on.
Just let me have it.

Tell me what it is.”

No, He’s got His own timetable.

And then, sometimes you
know you’re getting close.

You know you’re getting
close, but you know what?

You can’t make Him–and this is
hard for me to accept sometimes.

You, listen, you can’t make Him
tell you one second quicker

than He intends to.

Now, listen to me carefully.

More times than not, what He’s
trying to do is going to hit you

when you’re not even
thinking about anything like it!

All of a sudden, there it is.

You think, “Well,
where did that come from?”

It came from that long
process of listening,

waiting, sifting, sanding,
working, frustration, anxiety,

having pity parties,
and all the other things

that we do in the process of
having God speak to us.

Now, you say, “Okay, I got you.

What do I have to do to
make all this a reality?”

And I want you to listen
very, very carefully

because this is the end.

No matter what’s happening,
I need to acknowledge this,

“Father, I may not be worth
two cents in my own thinking.

I may so–be so messed up and
so much sin in my life and

I’ve been so fouled up, God.”

Maybe feel that way.

“Lord, I know You
love me anyway.”

I have to, listen, if you don’t
begin with acknowledging

God’s love, it’s
not going to work.

Now, listen to me!

“God, I know you love me.

I don’t feel very lovable.

I don’t think I
love You very much,

not according to my
actions and habits and,

God, but I know You love me.”

Secondly, “I’m
going to trust You.”

Now, listen to this.

He’s a sovereign
God, has all power.

He knows all of my
weaknesses and frailties.

He knows exactly where
He wants to get me

and how to get me there.

“I don’t understand
what’s going on,

God, if there’s something
You’re changing about me,

something–You want
to change direction,

I’m going to trust You.

I–I’m going to
have to trust You.

I can’t do this for myself.”

Trusting Him means that I am
just depending and relying and

surrendering myself to Him to do
in me and for me and through me

and to me whatever He
chooses because He

has the power to do it.

He can change anything
about me He wants to change.

He can put me somewhere I
could never put myself.

That’s why I don’t
underestimate God.

Don’t say, “Oh, I
could never do that.”

Don’t underestimate Him.

You know what it is?

It’s coming to the
conclusion that this wonderful,

loving Father loves you and
me with all of His heart.

And secondly, all He wants
me to do is to trust Him.

And if I trust Him, I’ll just
surrender my life to Him and

just say, “Lord, here I am.

You just do
whatever You want to do.”

Now, listen to me.

I don’t care what
you’re going through.

I don’t care how
deep, dark, frustrating,

how much turmoil,
heartache, suffering,

I don’t care what
you’re going through,

I can tell you
with all of my heart,

once you
acknowledge His wonderful,

fatherly love for
you and you say,

“Lord, because I know
You’re a wonderful,

loving Father who’s always doing
the right thing and the good

thing, I’m just going to trust
You,” here’s what happens:

the frustration disappears.

The peace rolls in.

The quietness of your
spirit overwhelms you.

There is a joy, there is
a sense of contentment,

there is a sense of absolute
peace because you know what?

You know that God is going to
shelter you in every storm,

He’s going to be your
shield from every attack,

He’s going to be your
wisdom for all decisions.

He’s going to be everything
you need no matter what.

And, in His wisdom, He
knows what He needs to change.

And so, if I just say,
“You’re free to change

anything about me
You want to change.”

I can tell you this with
of my heart I wish

I knew how to tell you,
you wouldn’t swap the change

for anything you have
ever done for yourself.

That’s the kind of God He is.

So all frustration’s not bad.

The key is that I
look to Him, trust Him,

and surrender to His will and
His way and whatever He sends

and know in my heart it’s
going to turn out for my

good no matter what.

You know why?
Because who can frustrate God?