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An ugly frame can detract from an otherwise beautiful picture. If so, it makes sense to reframe the picture.
Why do pictures have frames? A good frame enhances the picture by making sure it’s presented in the best possible way. The best frame will help a viewer see the picture at its fullest potential.
What frames your life? What do you use to make sense of it? An erroneous belief system can cancel out a person’s otherwise healthy life. If you don’t have anything in particular to guide you in life, there’s a better chance than not that drift away from God’s intentions.
Jesus is the master reframer of life.
When to Reframe the Present with the Future
How do Christians benefit from knowing God? Are there benefits in the short-term and long-term, only one, or neither? As Christians, we might know the fact of eternal life (a long-term benefit) but struggle to realize the present-day benefits. Short-term benefits are unpredictable. God acts to accomplish His purposes, which might or might not include what will make your life easier.
Let’s look at the story of Lazarus as an example.
Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. Yet even now I know that God will do anything you ask.” Jesus told her, “Your brother will live again!” Martha answered, “I know that he will be raised to life on the last day, when all the dead are raised.”
Jesus then said, “I am the one who raises the dead to life! Everyone who has faith in me will live, even if they die. And everyone who lives because of faith in me will never really die. Do you believe this?” “Yes, Lord!” she replied. “I believe that you are Christ, the Son of God. You are the one we hoped would come into the world.”John 11:21-27 CEV
Martha knew enough about Jesus to know He can do great things and God will answer all He asks. But she assumed that Jesus was being positive only about the future, not the present. She understood death to be irreversible. If Jesus had decided to not resurrect Lazarus, the lesson would be that when God does not correct a wrong or a loss, the future hope we have is a beautiful reframe for the present.
When to Reframe the Future with the Present
Jesus could see more than Martha. He used His understanding to gently reframe the situation for Martha. That’s the way it is for all of us. God sees more. He’ll always see more than we do. That’s why it’s good for us to believe Him and trust Him.
When Jesus saw that Mary and the people with her were crying, he was terribly upset and asked, “Where have you put his body?” They replied, “Lord, come and you will see.” Jesus started crying, and the people said, “See how much he loved Lazarus.”John 11:33-35 CEV
Isn’t it amazing how much Jesus connects with the people in His life? He knows what God wants. He knows He’s going to resurrect Lazarus. And, He’s so fully in tune with how Mary and Martha feel about their brother that He weeps with them. This time God’s will leads to a better present for the friends of Lazarus. God is glorified.
Jesus looked up toward heaven and prayed, “Father, I thank you for answering my prayer. I know that you always answer my prayers. But I said this, so that the people here would believe that you sent me.” When Jesus had finished praying, he shouted, “Lazarus, come out!” The man who had been dead came out.John 11:41-44 CEV
Jesus chooses to perform a miracle to demonstrate the truth that He transcends death because He is life. When God chooses to intervene in your life it’s also to help you see the truth. It’s okay to receive His encouragement. You can allow a positive experience to increase your faith that God is good and eternal life is real.
What do you have in your life that would benefit from being reframed? Share it with Jesus; tell Him your concerns. Tell Him how much faith you have in Him. Then, look for Jesus to frame your life in a way that goes beyond your expectations.
Give your life situation over to God. Ask Him to reframe you with Him and His truth. Be ready for a positive interpretation that exceeds your best interpretation. God loves you more than you realize.
Matt Pavlik is a licensed professional clinical counselor who wants to see each individual restored to their true identity. He has more than 20 years of experience counseling individuals and couples at his Christian counseling practice, New Reflections Counseling. Matt and Georgette have been married since 1999 and live with their four children in Centerville, Ohio.