THERAPEUTIC or cognitive reframing is defined as “looking at a situation, thought, or feeling from another angle, thereby altering its meaning.” In other words, the situation itself doesnt change, just your perspective on it.
Counsellors and psychologists use this technique to help clients work through problems, and I have found that God is an expert at therapeutic reframing. So many times I have handed problems or hurts over to Him in prayer and nothing outwardly has changed, but my whole feeling towards a person, memory or situation has been altered, thereby helping me to bear it or to forgive.
This has happened so often, my prayers are now more “Lord, change how I see this” rather than “Lord, take this away!”
As sinful, selfish individuals limited by our own life experience and assumptions, so often our perspective is warped, our premises faulty. We need God to open our eyes to how other people view the issue, argument or situation – or how God does.
The prophet Elijah during the reign of King Ahab saw persecution and compromise all around, and became depressed, but God shifted his view to the 7000 faithful believers who hadn’t bowed down to the pagan god, Baal. (1 Kings chapter 19)
John the Baptist in prison, about to lose his head, wondered what on earth God was doing. Jesus didn’t rescue him but showed him how John’s declarations had been fulfilled and his work had indeed ushered in God’s kingdom. (Matthew chapter 11)
The crowd ready to stone the adulteress thought they knew God’s will until the Carpenter gave them a different perspective on their self-righteousness. (John chapter 8)
The disciples on the Road to Emmaus are distraught at the death of Jesus, until the Stranger beside them gives them a different reading of the events by taking them through the Old Testament scriptures. (Luke chapter 24)
The situations themselves didn’t change, but everything was different for those involved.
Becoming a Christian allows God to reframe your life, your disappointments and failures. The Bible tells of how He turned a shepherd boy into a king (David), a prisoner into a prime minister (Joseph), a denier into a devotee (Peter) and used a humble peasant girl to be the mother of God (Mary).
And if you think your situation is hopeless and can’t possibly change, not to worry: God can change everything without changing a thing. Even if you never get out of prison, get well or see your loved one again, even in your on-going circumstances God can shift your view, reframe your life and “do abundantly more than you could ask for or imagine”. Try Him!