Wednesday, February 28, 2024

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葡萄樹傳媒

在軟弱的時候找到力量

By: Robert D. Foster

毫無例外地,我們都一定會面臨疾病、衰弱以及最後的死亡。不論你是誰,富裕或貧窮,總裁或管理員,世人皆知的名流或沒沒無聞的人,有一天你會和每一個人一樣,報紙上的訃聞都會登出「他(或她)已死亡。」

然而,我們在呼吸最後一口氣前,我們還是必須處理軟弱的問題,不論是身體、情緒、工作或靈性上的軟弱。在軟弱的時刻我們如何回應,就顯示出我們的品格,而且也會影響我們將來的生活。

我最珍惜的朋友之一是巴德.溫錫恩。他是一個年輕的德國農村男子,他對生命有一個特殊且清新的觀點。許多年前,他和可愛的瑞典籍妻子,瑪格莉特一起經營美國伊利諾州衛斯特科鎮幾百公畝的農場。但後來小兒痲痺使他必須戴上鐵肺。巴德和瑪格莉特的希望和夢想似乎隨著他被診斷是急性肌肉痲痺而消失。

然而巴德拒絕被擊倒。當巴德開始一段漫長且辛苦的療程去重建他的上半軀幹(下半身已無用了),瑪格莉特雇用一些人幫忙管理農場。農場機具公司為他設計了一輛牽引機,使他不需用腳操作。小兒痲痺可能打擊到他的身體,但不能使他的心失去功能--他想要活下去的意志、他的快樂和他樂天的性情。他對耶穌堅定的信心使他不逃避上帝的的旨意,只願祂的旨意成就。

巴德的殘障變成他的講壇。他可能讀過雜誌上的一篇文章「把你的疾病變為資產」,因為他確實把文章中所談的原則活出來。那篇文章智慧地觀察到「疾病常常讓人產生能量,是健康時不可能得到的。」以下是一些例子:
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。」

所以,我更喜歡誇自己的軟弱,好叫基督的能力覆庇我。我為基督的緣故,就以軟弱、凌辱、急難、逼迫、困苦為可喜樂的;因我什麼時候軟弱,什麼時候就剛強了」(哥林多後書12章7-10節)。

作家麥克斯.盧卡度這麼說:「當你的軟弱浮現,請記得上帝仍然會使用你。主動去加入一個需要倚靠祂力量的服事,在路途中的每一步都倚靠祂。」

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:
約書亞記1章6-9;羅馬書5章3-5節,8章28-29節;腓立比書1章12-14節,3章10-14節,4章4-7節;雅各書1章2-8節

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.

Reflection/Discussion Questions
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

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