Thursday, February 29, 2024

Vine Media

葡萄樹傳媒

在患難時找到幫助

Robert D. Foster

一位年老的牛仔在養牛的牧場工作多年,在那裡冬季的風暴帶來冰冷的雨水、狂風和堆積的冰雪,使得牛群有嚴重的傷亡。氣溫常常降至零度以下。大多數的牛隻會背對冰風暴,慢慢地被風吹到下風處,直到最後牧場邊界的柵欄阻擋牠們──然後牠們就死在那裡。

但赫里福種(Hereford)的牛就有不同的行為。這種牛會本能地迎面朝向風來的方向直到牧場的盡頭。牠們肩併肩地面對風暴,低頭抵抗狂風的強襲。一般而言,牛群都會存活。從牠們身上我們可以學習到寶貴的功課:正面迎向生命的風暴!

我們需要了解患難的風暴。我記得曾經在非常困難的情況時,我想要承認失敗,像鴕鳥一樣把頭藏在沙堆裡,或吹哨喊停。傑瑞.布立奇(Jerry Bridges)是我的好友,也是位作家。在他的「即使生活痛苦,仍要信靠上帝」一書中就給我很棒的答案,尤其是「透過患難成長」的那一章。我也背誦詩篇46篇1節,我發現在危機的時刻很有幫助:「神是我們的避難所,是我們的力量,是我們在患難中隨時的幫助。

拿波立.希爾(Napoleon Hill)是位作家兼演說家,他曾說「每個患難、每個失敗、每個心痛都帶著相等或更大益處的種子。」他所說的種子是什麼?在聖經舊約中,我們找到許多例子:

*亞伯拉罕,創世記。他花許多年學習如何順服,順服誰,以及何時順服。一路走來,亞伯拉罕經歷迂迴曲折、爭執與失望。但因他在面對患難和不確定時,仍然有信心且順服,最後上帝就獎賞他。

約伯,以他為名的書卷。他經歷過幾年的繁榮、快樂和成功。然後屋頂就塌下來,牆也垮了,壓垮了他的生活,在許多人的眼中他成為一個完全的失敗者──他失去家人、財富、名望和健康。他當然會悲嘆:「他用暴風折斷我,無故地加增我的損傷」(約伯記9章17節)。但當他發現等待的重要性,即使是要等幾個禮拜或幾個月。他學到在患難中有耐心的價值。約伯能夠說:「他必殺我;我雖無指望,然而我在他面前還要辯明我所行的」約伯發現,當應許似乎沒有實現,你永遠還是可以信靠那應許的上帝。

約瑟,也是在創世記。他的生命就像是坐24小時的雲霄飛車。一瞬間,他從父親的寵兒跌到坑洞裡;從顯要的地位落入監獄;從羊圈遷到高級住宅;從苦境升到宰相。最後他能夠對背叛他的哥哥們說:「從前你們的意思是要害我,但 神的意思原是好的」(創世記50章20節)。

聖經教導我們所謂的「增加定律」:「我實實在在地告訴你們,一粒麥子不落在地裏死了,仍舊是一粒,若是死了,就結出許多子粒來」(約翰福音12章24節)。有時死亡的表象只是更好生命的預兆。

當患難擋在你面前,而你一定會遇到艱困時,請記得要抓住著個真理:「神是我們的避難所,是我們的力量,是我們在患難中隨時的幫助」(詩篇46篇1節)。

羅勃.符思特創辦了美國柯羅拉多州靠近柯羅拉多州泉的「遺失谷牧場」。他是一位商人, 50多年來他也每週撰寫有關商業的默想文章,現在他居住在加州。

省思 / 討論題目
在面對各種形式的患難時,你一向都如何反應? 赫里福種牛肩併肩地面對迎面而來的嚴峻天氣,而不是背對患難,你對此有何想法?你可以如何把這原則應用到你的工作場所? 你對聖經中亞伯拉罕、約伯和約瑟的例子有什麼看法。你認為他們的經歷與21世界這不確定、動盪、無法預測的工商專業界有關聯嗎?為什麼? 本文作者不斷提到這經文:「神是我們的避難所,是我們的力量,是我們在患難中隨時的幫助。」?你相信嗎?請解釋。註: 若你有聖經且想要看有關此主題的其他經文,請看:
箴言2章7-8節,17章22節,18章14節,24章10節;羅馬書5章1-5節;哥林多後書12章7-10節;雅各書1章2-8節

FINDING HELP IN TIMES OF ADVERSITY
By: Robert D. Foster

An old cowboy spent years working cattle ranches where winter storms took a heavy toll among the herds due to freezing rains and howling, bitter winds that piled snow into enormous drifts. Temperatures often dropped below zero degrees. Most cattle would turn their backs to the ice blasts and slowly drift downwind until finally a boundary fence would stop them – and there they would die.

But the Hereford brand of cattle acted differently. Animals of this breed would instinctively head into the windward end of the range. They would stand shoulder to shoulder facing the storm blast, heads down against the onslaught. Typically, this resulted in the survival of the herd. There is a valuable lesson to learn from them: Face the storms of life head-on!

We need to understand the winds of adversity. I remember extremely difficult times when I was tempted to "throw in the towel," stick my head in the sand, or blow the whistle to call it quits. My good friend and author, Jerry Bridges, had some great answers for me in his book: Trusting God Even When Life Hurts, especially in the chapter, “Growing through Adversity.” I also memorized Psalm 46:1 and found help in the hour of crisis: “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

Author and speaker Napoleon Hill has said, "Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit." What is this seed he is talking about? In the Bible”s Old Testament we find numerous examples:

* Abraham, in the book of Genesis. He spent years of learning how to obey, whom to obey, and when to obey. Along the way Abram experienced detours, disputes and disappointments. But God rewarded his faith and obedience, even in the face of adversity and uncertainty.

* Job, in the book named after him. He had experienced years of prosperity, happiness and success. Then the roof caved in on his life, the walls fell out, and he became a total failure in the eyes of many – he lost his family, fortune, fame and fitness. Understandably he lamented, "God breaks me with a tempest, and multiplies my wounds without cause" (Job 9:17). But then he discovered the importance of waiting, even if it requires weeks or months. He learned the value of patience in adversity. "Though He slay me, I will trust Him," Job was able to say. When a promise seems to fail, Job discovered, you can always trust the One that makes the promise.

* Joseph, also in the book of Genesis. His life amounted to years of riding a 24-hour rollercoaster. In moments, he went from the paternal favorite in his family to the pit; from a position of prominence to prison; from the pen to the penthouse; from plight to prime minister. Eventually he was able to say to his betraying brothers, "You thought evil against me, but God meant it unto good" (Genesis 50: 30).

The Bible teaches what we could call “The Law of Increase”: "Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never to be any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over” (John 12:24). Sometimes the appearance of death is merely a harbinger of greater life.

When hardships come your way, and they will come, remember and cling to this truth: "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in the time of adversity" (Psalm 46:1).

Robert D. Foster is the founder of Lost Valley Ranch near Colorado Springs, Colorado, U.S.A. A businessman and author of weekly business-related meditations for more than 50 years, he now resides in California.

Reflection/Discussion Questions
How do you typically react when faced with adversity in any of its various forms? What do you think of the example of the Hereford cattle that, instead of turning away from the harsh weather stood side by side and faced the adverse conditions head-on? How might you apply that principle where you work? Give your reaction to the biblical examples of Abraham, Job and Joseph. Do you think their experiences are relevant for the uncertain, turbulent, unpredictable business and professional world of the 21st century? Why or why not? Mr. Foster repeats the passage, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in the time of adversity"? Do you believe this? Explain your answer.NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages: Proverbs 2:7-8, 17:22, 18:14, 24:10; Romans 5:1-5; 2 Corinthians 12:7-10; James 1:2-8

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