Reframing the Bad

by Oct 16, 2020Article

Reframing the Bad

Give thanks in all circumstances.

Have you ever thanked God for the bad things that have happened to you? I can picture your face, because I’m probably making the same one. Bad things are bad! They cause hurt, doubt, fear, confusion, and every sort of pain. If you’re like me, you spend your life trying to avoid bad things. You work hard, you read self-help books, you lock the doors, you study for tests, you go to the doctor, you try to pay the bills on time…the list is endless. But then one day, inevitably, something bad happens.

God, I admit when bad things happen, the last thing I want to do is be thankful. I don’t like bad things. But I know You don’t like them either. You want what’s best for us. You also have an eternal mindset, and You see above and beyond our current reality. What might look bad to us now is being used for eventual good. Help me to believe that! Thank you for Your endless love and patience. Thank you for being a good, good Father.

There’s a story told by Corrie ten Boom, who survived a Nazi concentration camp. She and her sister had been crammed into bunk beds along with dozens of other women, hungry, exhausted, laying on mold-infested straw, stripped of personal clothing, belongings, and dignity. And then one night, to add to their misery, fleas began biting their legs and arms. Corrie wailed, “How can we live in such a place?” (Which is often my exact question when something bad happens. How can I live like this?) But her sister Betsie’s reaction was gratitude: “God has answered our prayer!” WHAT? Fleas were sent by God to answer a prayer? Corrie thought her sister was going mad, but what they would later find out is that because of the fleas, none of the guards would step foot into their barracks. Because they had no supervision, the sisters were able to read the Bible out loud at night. Because the barracks were so crowded, many women heard the Word of God, and many women placed their trust in Jesus.

I think what Betsie was able to do, which is so hard in times of trouble, is that she took the focus off the bad circumstance and looked above and beyond it. Instead of asking, “How will I get through this,” she reframed her situation, asking, “How is God going to use this?” It’s a simple, and yet incredibly profound mind shift. And I admit, it’s incredibly difficult to do! But if I believe in God, and I believe that He is a good Father, then I have to trust that everything – every bad thing, every good thing – will be used by Him for good. And that is something I can be thankful for.

 

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