“I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power.”- Ephesians 1:18-19.
Sometimes things won’t make sense no matter how much we read, pray and discuss it with others. There are things in life that just happen that are simply not our fault. There is a randomness, an arbitrariness associated with these random experiences that seem to give them no inherent value whatsoever. And then there are cases where we discover they have value. It depends on how you pre-frame and ultimately frame the issue: or how you choose to look at or make sense of the event or circumstance.
Maybe you discovered a friend that you thought you could trust let you down. It could be an illness, a broken relationship. The list of possibilities is limitless. The question is how do we cope. How will we make it through to the other side? Much of coming out on the other side depends on how we frame our experiences.
Framing your experiences means that you choose to look at them differently. Do not view specific challenges and setbacks in isolation, as we tend to do. When we look at this as an ad hoc singular event, it is difficult to frame the issue in a way that it has meaning. In addition, we run the risk of growing discouraged, and ultimately walking away. The better way is to frame your present circumstances in the context of your whole life. We often see God in the bigger picture. In the life of a Christian, God’s hand is not only always moving, but is always moving for the believer’s ultimate good. This does not mean that all things that happen to a believer are good in themselves, but that God works them all together for good (Romans 8:28). This can be difficult to understand until one realizes that the ultimate good for a believer is not external earthly comfort but internal conformity to the image of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29). When we place that same experience in the larger framework of our whole life, a picture can begin to take shape and we can begin to see the redemptive possibilities?
Pre-frame what you are facing or may face in the future by asking yourself: Is this setback really a setback after all? Or, is it possible that what I’m going through could actually prove to be part of a much larger framework? That is, can God use even “this” to mold, shape and prepare me for those things He has in mind for me to do in the future.
I don’t know what issue you are trying to frame, but if you ask God to help you to begin to see things from within a larger context, through the lens of your whole life and His goals for you, the bigger picture may become a little clearer. Things may begin to take shape and your vision may refocus and framing will become a lot easier.
- Do you look at events in isolation or frame them in the context of your whole life? Whichever one, why?
- What can we do this week to become better pre-framers when we face tough circumstances?