Last night my husband and I, along with some friends from our Emergent group, went to see Rob Bell in Phoenix… well the Tempe Arts Center. As great as he sounds in his books, he’s even that much better live. He’s such a real guy.

I personally like that he made a lot of Fine Art references. That appeals to me as an artist, he was speaking my language. The word that spoke to me was the word….


You would have to see him live or read the book to get the whole concept of what Rob Bell is talking about but I’ll talk about this word frame.

In the language of art, rather than have words represent a thought, idea, concept or thing, there are visual symbols that represent thoughts, ideas, concepts or things. We all have experience with a frame. We have all seen a frame and most of us have at least one in our homes. Frame is use to describe a physical thing that usually holds a painting, a photograph, a collage or some special certificate. Frame is also a word that describes boarders or a reference point, it also describes containment. There is a distinction about what is inside and what is outside.

He talked about how pain and/or suffering are a reference point. People are more affected by pain and are motivated by pain more than any other emotion or state.  He pointed out that if we didn’t have any suffering in our lives then we wouldn’t move toward change, that we wouldn’t have a frame of reference in our lives for what life is about.

I myself, at some points in my life, have cried out “WHY, Why is this happening to me?”. I believe that a persons choices lead them to where they are now. If I didn’t feel the suffering from those choices, then I would not make the changes I need in my life to not feel the suffering and to be a more productive person.

Christ’s frame was the cross. He came and chose suffering over battle. He didn’t choose to fight the Roman government but went the peaceful way and silently suffered so that he would know.. How I feel, how you feel, how the single parent feels, how the man with cancer feels, how the mother whose child is on drugs feels, how the child who gets picked on feels. His choice brought him physical and emotional suffering.

The next time you suffer, realize that the event is for growth and change. It’s to compel you to move forward in your life. The cross hanging on your neck is your frame.