By: Robert D. Foster
疾病使我們想到死亡。 疾病使我們嚴肅地想到上帝。 疾病使我們的心柔軟。 疾病使我們謙卑。 疾病測試我們對上帝的信心。這樣的想法讓使徒保羅寫出：「…有一根刺加在我肉體上，就是撒但的差役要攻擊我，免得我過於自高。為這事，我三次求過主，叫這刺離開我。他對我說：我的恩典夠你用的，因為我的能力是在人的軟弱上顯得完全。」
本文改編自「週一早晨觀點」，這是一系列由羅勃．福斯特以電子郵件發出的默想文章。他不收費，鼓勵人們複製，只要註明出處即可。若有任何問題或評論，請寫信到29555 Goose Creek Rd, Sedalia, CO 80135, U.S.A.或傳真 (303) 647-2315。
思想 / 討論題目
當你面對軟弱的時刻－－身體的病痛、灰心或無法掌控的環境，你一向如何回應？ 為何本文作者說，我們對軟弱的反應顯示出我們的內在品格？你同意嗎？ 屬靈信心在我們因應軟弱和極大的患難時，可以扮演什麼角色？ 你曾否想過疾病或軟弱是一種資產？或者你認為這種想法是愚昧的？或只是合理化困難環境的一種方式？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：
FINDING STRENGTH IN TIMES OF WEAKNESS
By: Robert D. Foster
Without exception, we all are destined to face sickness, disease, decline and, eventually, death. No matter who you are, rich or poor, CEO or custodian, world-famous celebrity or unknown, you will one day share the same line in the obituary column that everyone ultimately receives: "And he (or she) died."
Even before we breathe our last, however, we must deal with weakness, whether it be of a physical, emotional, professional or spiritual nature. How we respond in times of weakness reveals our character, and often serves to shape the rest of our lives.
One of my cherished friends was Bud Wynthein, a young German farm boy who had a distinctive and refreshing view on life. Many years ago, he and his lovely Swedish wife, Margaret, operated several hundred acres of farmland near Wasco, Illinois, U.S.A. until poliomyelitis (polio) placed him an iron lung. Seemingly, Bud and Margaret”s hopes and dreams had died with his diagnosis: acute flaccid paralysis.
However, Bud refused to be "knocked out." Margaret managed the farm with hired hands as Bud began a long and difficult program of rebuilding his upper torso; the lower half was useless. The farm equipment company devised a tractor for him to operate without legs. Polio may have stricken his body, but could not cripple Bud”s heart – his will to live and his happy, unfailingly smiling disposition. His strong faith in Jesus Christ was not a means of escaping God’s will, but his way of seeing that God”s will would be done.
Bud’s handicap became his pulpit. He might have read the magazine article, “Turn Your Sickness into an Asset," because he certainly lived its principles. The article wisely observed, “Often sickness generates energies that mere health couldn’t possibly bestow." Here are examples:
Sickness helps to remind us of death. Sickness helps to make us to think seriously about God. Sickness helps to soften our heart. Sickness helps to "level and humble" us. Sickness helps to test our faith in God. Such thinking prompted the apostle Paul to write: "…I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down, what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking round high and mighty! Three times I did that, and then He told me, “My grace is enough, it’s all you need, My strength comes into its own in your weakness.’
"Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. Now I take limitations in stride and good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size, abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become" (2 Corinthians 12: 7-10).
Author Max Lucado expressed it this way: "When your weakness surfaces, remember that God still uses you; volunteer for a form of service that requires you to depend on God’s strength. Depend on Him every step of the way."
Taken and adapted from Take Three on Monday Morning, an e-mail meditation published by Robert D. Foster. Permission to reproduce with proper credit is freely given and encouraged. For questions or comments, write: 29555 Goose Creek Rd, Sedalia, CO 80135, U.S.A., or fax (303) 647-2315.
How do you typically respond when facing times of weakness – physical illness, discouragement, or faced with circumstances beyond your control? Why do you think Mr. Foster states that our response to weakness reveals our inner character? Do you agree? What role can spiritual faith play in our ability to cope with weakness and times of extreme adversity? Have you ever considered illness or weakness to be an asset? Or do you consider such thinking foolishness or simply a way of rationalizing difficult circumstances? Explain your answer.NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to review some other passages that relate to this topic, consider the following verses: Joshua 1:6-9; Romans 5:3-5, 8:28-29; Philippians 1:12-14, 3:10-14, 4:4-7; James 1:2-8