Tuesday, March 5, 2024

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痛苦告訴你:是改變的時候了

By:Ken Korkow

幾年前,保羅.班德,菲利普博士和楊腓力合著了一本書叫做:「疼痛-不受歡迎的禮物。」這標題寫的真好,因為我們沒人願意經歷痛苦,或自找痛苦。然而痛苦在真實的生活裡,就像我們頭上的太陽和鳥兒一樣常見。

對我來說,痛苦最常出現的形式是反覆出現的頭痛。不是輕微的那種,而是非常劇烈,有時甚至會影響我日常作息。

一年之前,我必須要吃七顆藥來止痛,過了半個月中變成十三顆。當時我讀到一篇華爾街雜誌的文章標題寫著:「你不吃什麼,就會變成什麼。」讀完之後,我了解到自己可能就是痛苦的來源。

從那時起,我就避免吃小麥製品(像是麵包和 麩質製品)、奶製品(牛奶、起司、冰淇淋等)、蛋、糖、大豆、花生(我特別喜愛顆粒状的花生醬,也許這是我的身材為什麼總是特別粗胖的原因)或是洋芋片。就在實施這個飲食原則後,我不需要再吃頭痛藥了,這並不是一個巧合。我體重減輕,在身心方面都感到比以前自在了。

有人就說:「上帝不會叫你白白受苦。」我的頭痛讓我認真去思考自己的飲食、是否需要減重以及注重好的營養素,因此我的身心靈都改善了。如同「疼痛-不受歡迎的禮物。」書中所說:「儘管我們盡全力要避免痛苦,然而痛苦常常帶來好處。」

回應上面這句話,我了解到很多時候,我們所經歷的痛苦是需要改變的警訊。例如,堆積如山的債務和帳單會帶來很多壓力,也許它是在告訴我們:在財務上必須要更加負責。

有時候我們的工作和職業給生活帶來痛苦。特別是當我們發現自己卡在一個不喜歡的職位上,或是工作沒有發展性的時候,這大概意味著我們應該換跑道了,或相反的,這種痛苦也有可能是在告訴我們:對自己的工作要更加委身,也許再去進修或是使用其他方法使現在的工作更加有效率。

當我們經歷痛苦的夫妻、親子、同事或是朋友之間的關係時,也許這意味著我們必須要少一點自私、多點給予以及多為他人的利益著想。也許我們不需要離開這段關係,但是需要一些改變讓彼此的關係更好。

自己生活中有些痛苦讓你想要改變?聖經也告訴我們:「不但如此,就是在患難中也是歡歡喜喜的;因為知道患難生忍耐,忍耐生老練,老練生盼望;」(羅馬書5章3-4節),雅各書1章2-3節也說:「我的弟兄們,你們落在百般試煉中,都要以為大喜樂;因為知道你們的信心經過試驗,就生忍耐。但忍耐也當成功,使你們成全、完備,毫無缺欠。」

在痛苦中喜樂似乎看起來很難,但痛苦總是告訴我們該是改變的時候了。

肯恩.寇克住在美國內布拉斯加州的Omaha市,在那裡他擔任CBMC的區域總幹事。本篇文章改編自他每週寫的「生活傳真」專欄。我們獲得允許轉載。

省思/討論題目
在痛苦中你通常如何反應?是離開種種的困難或是趕快找一個快速的解決方法? 你是否可以想出一個例子說明當下也許痛苦,但「痛苦總是化妝的祝福」?解釋一下你的答案。 你最近經歷過什麼樣的痛苦?或是在你的生活中一直有一些痛苦存在? 為什麼你覺得聖經勸我們在患難痛苦中要喜樂,都要以為大喜樂?在你的人生中是否經歷過一些患難,但是事後回想時卻能為了所經歷的一切感恩?如果有,請分享你的經驗以及患難為你帶來的好處。若你想要看或討論聖經中有關此主題的其他經文,請看:箴言10章17節;箴言13章18節、24節;箴言15章32節; 羅馬書 8章18節;哥林多後書4章16-18節; 希伯來書12章5-6節

DOES YOUR PAIN INDICATE A NEED FOR CHANGE?
By Ken Korkow

Years ago, Dr. Paul Brand and Philip Yancey wrote a book called Pain: The Gift Nobody Wants. If there was ever an appropriately titled book, that was it. Because who among us wants to experience pain? Who seeks it out? And yet, pain is as much a part of real life as the sun and birds flying overhead.

For me, among of the most common forms of pain have been recurring headaches. Not mild annoyances, but debilitating ones that at times have left me incapable of participating in the most common activities.

During one month about a year ago, I had to take seven headache pills, and halfway through the next month I had already taken six more. Then I read a Wall Street Journal article entitled, “You are what you don’t eat.” After reading that, I realized perhaps I was a contributor to my own pain.

Since then I have avoided eating wheat (bread and gluten products), dairy (milk, cheese, ice cream, etc.), eggs, sugar, soy, peanuts (and I love extra-chunky peanut butter – probably one of the reasons my body has always been “extra chunky”), or white potatoes. At the same time – and I do not think it was a coincidence – I did not have to take a headache pill after starting this dietary discipline; I lost some weight, and began feeling better physically and mentally.

As someone has wisely stated, God does not waste pain. And as it turned out, my headache pain finally caused me to get serious about what I ate, lose some weight, become more conscious of good nutrition, and my overall physical well-being improved. As Brand and Yancey noted in their book, despite all of our efforts to avoid pain, there are times when it offers great benefits.

Reflecting on this, I realized there are many other instances when pain we experience could be signaling a need to make some changes. For example, debt and the pressures of mounting bills can cause much stress, but that pain may be telling us it is time to become more responsible financially.

Sometimes our jobs and careers bring about pain in our lives. This may indicate a need to change jobs, especially if we find ourselves stuck in a position we do not enjoy or that offers little or no promise for advancement. But our “pain” could also be revealing the need for a stronger commitment to our work, or to pursue more education or training to perform the work in a more productive, more rewarding manner.

When experiencing painful relationships – with our spouse, children, coworkers or even friends – this could be showing us the necessity to change our attitudes, becoming less selfish, more giving of ourselves, and more considerate of the interests of others. We probably do not need to sever those relationships, but rather to make some changes ourselves to make them better.

Let me ask: Is there some pain in your life that God may be using to cause you to consider change? After all, the Scriptures tell us, “we rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Romans 5:3). James 1:2-3 adds, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

It might seem difficult to “rejoice” in times of pain, but often hindsight shows how much we needed it.

Ken Korkow lives in Omaha, Nebraska, U.S.A., where he serves as an area director for CBMC.

Reflection/Discussion Questions
How do you typically respond when confronted with pain – or severe difficulties – of various kinds? Do you try to find a quick remedy? Can you think of any time when pain can truly be perceived as a “gift,” even when it seems unwelcome at the time? Explain your answer. What kind(s) of “pain” are you currently experiencing – or enduring – in your life? Why do you think the Bible admonishes us to “rejoice” or “consider it pure joy” during periods of pain and great distress? Has there ever been a time in your life, after going through much difficulty, that you were able (in retrospect) to feel thankful for having gone through the experience? If so, describe the circumstances and how they proved to be beneficial.NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages: Proverbs 10:17, 13:18,24, 15:32; Romans 8:18; 2 Corinthians 4:16-18; Hebrews 12:5-6

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