信心能成為對抗恐懼的保障──FAITH CAN FORM A SAFEGUARD AGAINST FEAR

MONDAY MANNA

我有一些朋友曾經在生意經營上遇到嚴重挑戰,希望勉強能夠讓事業持續。他們所面臨的問題非常嚴重,甚至曾考慮申請破產。然而,在透過各種管道尋求幫助以及權衡狀況之後,他們在禱告中選擇仍繼續前進。

但當他們開始取得一定程度的商業成功後,新冠病毒的疫情重創了他們所在的產業,也突然意外終止了數個生意機會。恐懼和慌亂席捲了他們,之前所受的訓練和經驗,未能幫助他們面對這個全新的困境。

或許你自己或所在的機構也面臨類似的挑戰。對大多數人來說,全球性的停擺和限制行動給我們帶來了前所未有的困難。 2020年開始時,誰會想到這一年是這樣展開的呢?

就算沒有史無前例的全球性新冠疫情,許多小企業主平時也是在微薄利潤的邊緣求生存,尤其是那些仍在草創階段的企業。他們未來也許會賺錢,但草創時期的運作每天都很艱難。因此,當危機出現時,領導者很容易且經常被恐懼壓垮。

在這個時候,我們大多數人都會提出這樣的問題:「我們現在要做什麼?」「我們還能做些什麼嗎?」面對這種令人沮喪的情況,很難堅守信心,還持續在逆境中相信上帝有祂的計劃。難道祂拋棄了我們嗎?

正是在這樣的時候,我們才能看出自己的信心是否真實。世上沒有任何一個盼望的來源,比的過聖經中的應許了。使徒彼得不是在描寫病毒的大流行,而是在向經歷許多逆境的耶穌基督的追隨者們提供這些保證:「因此,你們是大有喜樂;但如今,在百般的試煉中暫時憂愁,叫你們的信心既被試驗,就比那被火試驗仍然能壞的金子更顯寶貴……」(彼得前書1章6-7節)

然後他寫道:「親愛的弟兄啊,有火煉的試驗臨到你們,不要以為奇怪(似乎是遭遇非常的事),倒要歡喜;因為你們是與基督一同受苦,使你們在他榮耀顯現的時候,也可以歡喜快樂。」(彼得前書4章12-13節)

過信心的生活,包括每天在商業和專業領域中奮鬥努力,就是即便狀況看似悲觀無望,仍然相信上帝,祂會引導,也會供應。聖經教導我們,對未來的恐懼應該被一種健康的害怕代替——就是對上帝的敬畏。因為祂賜給我們工作,並期待我們在職場上擔任祂的使者。

正如箴言19章23節教導我們的:「敬畏耶和華的,得著生命;他必恆久知足,不遭禍患。」當災難來臨時,我們只應害怕一件事,就是敬畏上帝,這是值得持續保有的。在我的職涯中,順服上帝給我帶來了平安,取代慌亂。因為我們有祂的應許:「你求告我,我就應允你,並將你所不知道、又大又難的事指示你。」(耶利米書33章3節)

在人生找不出答案、只能單單信靠神的景況時,也許是最好的處境。

反省與問題討論

  1. 你是否曾經在職業生涯或經營事業時,遇到想要放棄的時刻,但是透過禱告和有智慧的諮詢,選擇了堅持下來?如果有,當時情況如何,結果又是如何?
  2. 也許你現在正面臨一個似乎無法克服的障礙。你如何處理它?你是否只剩下上帝和祂的引導成為唯一的選擇?
  3. 新冠疫情對你和你的工作有何影響?在處理這次的重大挑戰時,信心有扮演成為你力量的角色嗎?
  4. 你對文章中引用的聖經經文,以及其中的應許有什麼感想?你是否聯想到其他對你深具意義的類似經文?

備註:想知道聖經中關於這個主題的更多信息,請參考以下經文:
詩篇37篇4-5節
37:4 又要以耶和華為樂,他就將你心裏所求的賜給你。
37:5 當將你的事交託耶和華,並倚靠他,他就必成全。
箴言3章5-6節
3:5 你要專心仰賴耶和華,不可倚靠自己的聰明,
3:6 在你一切所行的事上都要認定他,他必指引你的路。
箴言16章3、9節
16:3 你所做的,要交託耶和華,你所謀的,就必成立。
16:9 人心籌算自己的道路;惟耶和華指引他的腳步。
以賽亞書40章31節
40:31 但那等候耶和華的必重新得力。他們必如鷹展翅上騰;他們奔跑卻不困倦,行走卻不疲乏。
以賽亞書41章10節
41:10 你不要害怕,因為我與你同在;不要驚惶,因為我是你的 神。我必堅固你,我必幫助你;我必用我公義的右手扶持你。
耶利米書29章11節
29:11 耶和華說:我知道我向你們所懷的意念是賜平安的意念,不是降災禍的意念,要叫你們末後有指望。
馬太福音6章25-34節
6:25 「所以我告訴你們,不要為生命憂慮吃甚麼,喝甚麼;為身體憂慮穿甚麼。生命不勝於飲食嗎?身體不勝於衣裳嗎?
6:26 你們看那天上的飛鳥,也不種,也不收,也不積蓄在倉裏,你們的天父尚且養活牠。你們不比飛鳥貴重得多嗎?
6:27 你們哪一個能用思慮使壽數多加一刻呢(或譯:使身量多加一肘呢)?
6:28 何必為衣裳憂慮呢?你想野地裏的百合花怎麼長起來;它也不勞苦,也不紡線。
6:29 然而我告訴你們,就是所羅門極榮華的時候,他所穿戴的,還不如這花一朵呢!
6:30 你們這小信的人哪!野地裏的草今天還在,明天就丟在爐裏, 神還給它這樣的妝飾,何況你們呢!
6:31 所以,不要憂慮說,吃甚麼?喝甚麼?穿甚麼?
6:32 這都是外邦人所求的,你們需用的這一切東西,你們的天父是知道的。
6:33 你們要先求他的國和他的義,這些東西都要加給你們了。
6:34 所以,不要為明天憂慮,因為明天自有明天的憂慮;一天的難處一天當就夠了。」


FAITH CAN FORM A SAFEGUARD AGAINST FEAR

By Rick Boxx

Some friends of ours were in the midst of a fierce struggle to keep the doors of their business open. Their problems were serious enough that they were considering bankruptcy. After seeking counsel from various sources and weighing their options, they prayerfully chose instead to push forward.

Just as they were beginning to experience a measure of business success, consequences of the coronavirus pandemic devastated their industry and brought some future opportunities to an abrupt, unexpected end. Fear and panic overwhelmed them. Their training and experience had not prepared them for this new obstacle.

Maybe you or your organization have confronted similar challenges. For most of us, worldwide shutdowns and restrictions have inflicted hardships unlike we have ever known before. When 2020 began, who could have imagined how the year would unfold?

Even in normal times, without the impact of an unprecedented global pandemic, many small business owners live on the edge with very little margin. This is especially true for enterprises still in a startup stage. Profits might come in the future, but in the beginning, operations are strictly day-to-day. So when crises surface, it is easy – and not unusual – for leaders to become paralyzed with fear.

Questions most of us ask at such times include, “What do we do now? Is there anything we can do?” Faced with such gloomy circumstances, it can be very difficult to remain grounded in faith, continuing to trust that despite the adversity, God has a plan. Has He abandoned us?

It is at times like these that the genuineness of our faith is revealed. And there is no greater source of hope than to turn to the promises in the Scriptures. The apostle Peter was not writing about a pandemic, but offered these assurances to followers of Jesus Christ going through many adversities: “In this you greatly rejoice, though not for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may be proved genuine…” (1 Peter 1:6-7).

Then he wrote, “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed” (1 Peter 4:12-13).

The life of faith – including everyday pursuits in the business and professional world – is one of trusting in God, His direction and provision, even when common sense seems to say otherwise. Fear of the future, we are told, should be replaced with a healthy fear – the reverent awe of God, who ordained work and desires for us to serve as His ambassadors in the marketplace.

As Proverbs 19:23 teaches us, “The fear of the Lord leads to life, so that one may sleep satisfied, untouched by evil.” When disaster looms, one fear – fear of God – is worth embracing. Many times throughout my career, submitting to God has brought me peace rather than panic. Because we have His assurance, “Call on Me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things that you do not know” (Jeremiah 33:3).

Finding ourselves at a loss for answers, having to trust in God alone, can be the very best place to be.

© 2020, Unconventional Business Network Adapted with permission from “Integrity Moments with Rick Boxx,” a commentary on issues of integrity in the workplace from a Christian perspective. To learn more, visit www.unconventionalbusiness.org. His latest book, Unconventional Business, provides “Five Keys to Growing a Business God’s Way.”

Reflection/Discussion Questions

  1. Have you ever reached a point in your career – or in your business – when you felt on the verge of giving up, but through prayer and wise counsel chose to persevere? If so, what was the situation like and what was the outcome? 
  2. Perhaps you are facing a circumstance right now, obstacles that seem insurmountable. How are you coping with them? Have you reached a point when God and His guidance are your only option? 
  3. How has the pandemic affected you and your work? What role, if any, has faith played in your ability to handle the great challenges of this time?
  4. What do you think of the Bible passages quoted and the promises they give? Do other similar passages come to mind that have been meaningful for you?

NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages: Psalm 37:4-5; Proverbs 3:5-6, 16:3,9; Isaiah 40:31, 41:10; Jeremiah 29:11; Matthew 6:25-34


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