Embracing Frustration


Now Jesse said to his son David, “Take this ephah of roasted grain and these ten loaves of bread for your brothers and hurry to their camp.…See how your brothers are and bring back some assurance from them.” (1 Samuel 17:17-18)

Here is David, overlooked and expected to do the grunt work, and this wasn’t the first time. He was available for this errand because he was left behind to tend the sheep while all of Israel’s fighting men were out to battle. I’m sure the natural frustration that comes when being excluded began to creep into his heart.

Six years ago, I was invited to stay at a friends cabin for a weekend. During those couple of days, I experienced a surreal quiet that I hadn’t known growing up in a city. In my adolescence, to find quiet, I would climb up the fire escape to the roof, gaze upon the stars, and let all of my frustrations out to the Lord!

The Lord quickly taught me that if I vented to other people, it would often become gossip, but as I vented all of my frustration to Him, it became intercession!

During the first night, around 3am (God’s favorite time to speak to us) I woke up with a mental picture that I couldn’t shake. The picture was of a boy pushing a cart of supplies and screaming up at the sky. While asking the Lord about this picture, the words “David and Goliath” rushed into my mind, so I decided to re-read the story. As I read verses 17-18 in First Samuel 17, the picture that I saw began to make sense. It was as if an instant download of insight hit my spirit! David was frustrated too!

The nation of Israel was facing a national crisis! This was war, and back then, if you lost war, you lost everything. Your children would be enslaved, women raped then killed or enslaved, and every fighting man would be slaughtered! You would think men of every stature would be called for this event, but not David. His job was to watch the sheep. Then, when it became necessary, he was supposed to take a picnic out to his brothers and bring back news of the battle.

The picture I had was of David on his way to the Valley of Elah, frustrated and venting to the Lord about being omitted from the battle roster, and asking God when it would be his turn? Besides, he was the anointed king of Israel! His role should be one of glory, and influence! Instead, he found himself in the role of a scrub, a bench warmer.

Little did he know, that just around the corner, on the other side of the hill, he would face and defeat Goliath. In a short time, he would become the champion he was born to be!

Soon, he would have a chance to demonstrate his bravery and it would all come together for him. But David didn’t know that then, and neither do we when we are in the midst of our frustration. Only God knows the time and the hour in which He will choose to reveal us and our gifting’s before men. Until that time, we are just like David: overlooked and frustrated.

Frustration can be a good thing and I believe it was for David. You can read it throughout the Psalms: David complained to the Lord all the time! I believe, just like the Psalms he wrote, on the way to the Valley of Elah, David directed his frustration upward, which became intercession. It would then become a determination so fervent that he would be willing to take a risk. By fighting Goliath, he risked the lives and freedom of all of Israel. Should he have fallen, the unthinkable would have become a living reality to all Israel.

David embraced his frustration in a sanctified way, which was one of his greatest strengths. We should be grateful for frustration and see it as an opportunity to complain to the Lord and ultimately to see His perspective of our situation. I could hear the Lord telling David:

“There, there little guy, you will have your chance. You’re right; I did create you for greatness. You are powerful and brave. Be satisfied that you know and I know of your bravery and greatness. There will come a time for others will know. Just wait and be patient.”

The next time, you are upset because you’ve been overlooked, be grateful for the frustration you are feeling. It is proof that God has created you for bigger things, because you have a hunger for them. Vent your frustration to Him in intercession, and allow that frustration to turn into determination.

Anthony Calabro

Anthony Calabro ministers nationally, serves as an associate evangelist with Sean Smith Ministries a.k.a. Pointblank International as well as locally at his home church in Oakland, CA as its Outreach Director. He grew up in a high crime neighborhood in Stockton, CA, which God used to cultivate a heart for inner-city ministry. Anthony became a 2-year graduate from Lakeview School of Ministry in 2001, graduated from Southwestern Assemblies of God University in 2005 with his B.A. in Church Ministries, and became an ordained minister with Pointblank International in 2005. In 2013, he married the love of his life, Esra “Ezzy” Calabro. Since his conversion at the age of 6, Anthony has regularly been involved in evangelism and has remained active in the harvest fields of the inner-city. Anthony’s heart is to inspire new passion in people’s heart to relentlessly pursue intimacy with Christ. Anthony and his wife currently reside in San Ramon, CA.