HAVE you ever been in a frustrating situation? Maybe there was someone you wanted to be with and couldn't. Or, perhaps you wanted to do something but you knew it would infringe a moral or ethical standard.
If we look on something we can't have as absolutely necessary to bring us happiness-a happiness otherwise unavailable-then frustration may seem logical. And such a feeling can soon become very thought-consuming. We may find ourselves thinking over and over of a possible turn of events that would enable us to realize our desire. We may even find ourselves tempted to think God is responsible for the consequent unhappiness we are feeling. We might feel His demands for obedience are unreasonable, or see His ability to help us as insufficient.
Such thinking, however, turns the truth of God's nature upside down. The Bible speaks of God as infinite and unvarying Love, who freely gives that which truly blesses us. For instance, in the book of Psalms the writer says of God, ''Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing'' (145:16). In God's ''hand'' is infinite good, which He is always giving to every one of us. God is not withholding what we want in a clenched fist. God's hand is always open! This is a spiritual truth. It will become visible to us as we learn about His nature and understand His invariable generosity.
In order to combat frustration, then, we can pray to gain a greater familiarity with God's power and love. This is what Christ Jesus knew so well, and what enabled him to heal sickness and sin. This power and love cannot be withheld from any one of us. It is the understanding of what God is, and what man is as God's image and likeness, that proves frustration to be entirely ungrounded. We exist at a standpoint of fulfillment. We can be utterly satisfied by the spiritual good always found in God. This fulfilling, spiritual goodness is what God is freely giving. The human heart that is alive, with the aid of prayer, to this spiritual provision will not be disappointed.
Mary Baker Eddy discovered Christian Science in 1866. She wrote Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. On the first page of the first chapter, you can read this: ''Desire is prayer; and no loss can occur from trusting God with our desires, that they may be moulded and exalted before they take form in words and in deeds.'' A prayer to silence frustration isn't meant to quell all desire, but to make it purer and more spiritual. Any desire that is good and honorable can and must be satisfied by God. And the results of prayer show that God knows our needs and satisfies them better than we ever could have. Nothing we calculated or orchestrated for ourselves could be as enduring as what God brings. The activity of God embracing all our lives, including our actions and interactions with others, is already full of spiritual good.
Here's a small example of how I prayed about frustration. I couldn't attend a conference for young people that I would love to have been involved in; I had passed the upper age limit for a place at this meeting, and I felt I was ''on the outside looking in.'' The event was to promote a good cause. And I began to realize I could actively play a part in the meeting if I were to support it with my prayer. As I did this, a couple of opportunities arose for me to encourage other people, who were qualified to attend. Then just before the meeting took place, I received a phone call out of the blue, inviting me to host a workshop at the conference. This allowed me to participate fully in it, although in a way I had never thought of. The desire to be involved in the meeting, and the prayer to dispel my frustration, proved fully justified. And my desire had been ''moulded'' before it took form in action.
Besides blessing us by removing frustration, prayer turns one from merely self-serving goals to expressing love for others. Our purer thought touches others and supports them in realizing their own legitimate desires.