觀察與等候的艱鉅任務──THE TOUGH TASK OF ‘WATCHFUL WAITING’

在過去的幾年裡,我一直在接受前列腺癌的治療。我做第二次輕度侵入性手術,以移除殘留在那個小腺體中的疾病,已經快一年了。到目前為止,我選擇不進行手術切除前列腺。感謝神,在整個過程中我沒有經歷任何痛苦。

最近,我和泌尿科醫生進行了視訊諮詢,討論了再次手術,去除殘留的少量癌症之可行性。他的建議是再「觀察與等候」六個月。所以,我接受了他的建議,並等待斷層掃描結果,來評估我病情的變化。

因為我已經和這種癌症打交道很長一段時間了,所以在下一次治療之前等待更長的時間是合理的。我已經接受了我所說的「觀察與等候的艱鉅任務」。首次診斷時,我研究了所有可用的替代方法。前列腺癌很少具惡性,通常是生長緩慢的,據統計,如今很少有男性死於前列腺癌。

我對這種苦難的態度奠基於我對主的信仰。我的基督徒旅程充滿了許多試煉,也充滿了許多祝福。作為基督徒,我開始明白有很多時候要「觀察與等候」主。在研讀聖經的過程中,我經常接觸到這種觀察與等候的觀念。大衛王在詩篇 27篇13-14節中寫道:我若不信在活人之地得見耶和華的恩惠,就早已喪膽了。要等候耶和華!當壯膽,堅固你的心!我再說,要等候耶和華」!這位被稱為「合神心意的人」提出了極好的建議。

在過去的幾年裡,我們所有人都面臨著焦慮的時刻。可能並不是被診斷出嚴重的疾病,而是疫情、不確定的經濟與不斷變動的工作環境,給我們大多數人帶來了前所未有的改變。從商業的角度來看,為了謀生,我想不出有什麼比這更具挑戰性的時期了。所以,我學會了更努力、更聰明地工作。

在保險業務中,我的傾向一直是與客戶面對面交流。然而,在健康管制措施的限制下,這變得很困難。我一直努力對客戶的需求和偏好做出更好的回應。然而,由於新冠肺炎的疫情,許多人變得更不容易溝通,因為他們的生活也變得更加複雜和具有挑戰性。

這是我在這些艱難時期保持觀察與等候的「秘訣」。首先,我們必須培養並保持堅強而持續的禱告生活。基督徒必須明白每天早上穿戴上帝的軍裝的重要性。正如使徒保羅在以弗所書6章10-11節 所勸勉的:我還有末了的話:你們要靠著主,倚賴他的大能大力作剛強的人。要穿戴 神所賜的全副軍裝,就能抵擋魔鬼的詭計」。我們必須抗拒巨大的誘惑,不向我們屬靈仇敵的詭計屈服。

保羅在以弗所書 6 章 18 節繼續說:「靠著聖靈,隨時多方禱告祈求;並要在此警醒不倦,為眾聖徒祈求,」 是的,我的禱告不僅僅是為了我個人的需要,也是為了 上帝安排在我身邊的許多人 -甚至其他我幾乎不認識的人,和那些祂放在他們身邊的人,努力地為我們的主工作。透過這種方式,我正在盡自己的本份,成為神家中充滿活力的一員!

Jim Langley從事人壽健康保險業已經超過30年了。最近幾年,他熱心於將自己與神的關係書寫出來,目的是要鼓勵其他人更加親近神。他也是CBMC的長期會員,在2014年時,他開始寫作「比賽第四節策略」(Fourth Quarter Strategies)。

備註:要了解更多關於聖經對這個主題的看法,請考慮以下經文:

詩篇 130篇5-6節
130:5 我等候耶和華,我的心等候;我也仰望他的話。
130:6 我的心等候主,勝於守夜的,等候天亮,勝於守夜的,等候天亮。
路加福音 12章35-37節
12:35 「你們腰裏要束上帶,燈也要點著,
12:36自己好像僕人等候主人從婚姻的筵席上回來。他來到,叩門,就立刻給他開門。
12:37 主人來了,看見僕人警醒,那僕人就有福了。我實在告訴你們,主人必叫他們坐席,自己束上帶,進 前伺候他們。
以弗所書 6章13-17節
6:13 所以,要拿起 神所賜的全副軍裝,好在磨難的日子抵擋仇敵,並且成就了一切,還能站立得住。
6:14 所以要站穩了,用真理當作帶子束腰,用公義當作護心鏡遮胸,
6:15 又用平安的福音當作預備走路的鞋穿在腳上。
6:16 此外,又拿著信德當作盾牌,可以滅盡那惡者一切的火箭;
6:17 並戴上救恩的頭盔,拿著聖靈的寶劍,就是 神的道;
腓立比書 4章6-7節
4:6 應當一無掛慮,只要凡事藉著禱告、祈求,和感謝,將你們所要的告訴 神。
4:7  神所賜、出人意外的平安必在基督耶穌裏保守你們的心懷意念。
彼得前書5章6-9節
5:6 所以,你們要自卑,服在 神大能的手下,到了時候,他必叫你們升高。
5:7 你們要將一切的憂慮卸給 神,因為他顧念你們。
5:8 務要謹守,警醒。因為你們的仇敵魔鬼,如同吼叫的獅子,遍地遊行,尋找可吞吃的人。      
5:9 你們要用堅固的信心抵擋他,因為知道你們在世上的眾弟兄也是經歷這樣的苦難。

反省與問題討論

  1. 你是否經歷過需要長時間等待才能解決的特別情況呢?可能是健康問題,或是財務危機。如果有,你是如何回應的呢?
  2. 你如何理解「觀察與等候」這個詞?當你必須這麼做時,有哪些好處和困難呢?
  3. 在過去的一年中你遇到了哪些挑戰?無論是與持續的新冠肺炎疫情有關或是完全無關的任何情況?你是否傾向於嘗試快速解決問題,或者你已經接受了「觀察與等候」的方法?請解釋你的答案。
  4. 當你遇到巨大的障礙和不同類型的逆境時,你的信仰如何幫助你面對它們,如果你有這樣的信仰的話?


THE TOUGH TASK OF ‘WATCHFUL WAITING’

By Jim Langley

For the past several years, I have been been receiving treatment for prostate cancer. It has been nearly a year since my second mildly invasive procedure to remove the disease that lingers within that one small gland. So far, I have elected to not have it surgically removed. And thankfully, I have not experienced any pain during the entire process.

Recently, I had a video consultation with my urologist to discuss the feasibility of a second treatment to remove the small amount of cancer remaining. His recommendation was to “watch and wait” for another six months. So, I have taken his advice and am awaiting the results of my scan to evaluate my progress.

Since I have been dealing with this cancer for quite a while, waiting a bit longer before my next treatment is reasonable. I have accepted what I call the “tough task of watchful waiting.” When first diagnosed, I researched all the alternatives available. Prostate cancer is rarely aggressive and usually grows slowly; statistically, very few men die of prostate cancer these days.

My attitude to this affliction is centered on my faith in the Lord. My Christian journey has been filled with many trials, as well as many blessings. And as a follower of Jesus, I have come to understand there are many times to “watch and wait” on the Lord. In studying the Bible, I have encountered this concept of watching and waiting quite often. King David wrote in Psalm 27:13-14, “I am still confident of this; I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Excellent advice from the man who was known as “a man after God’s own heart.”

All of us have faced anxious moments these past few years. They might not have included a serious diagnosis, but the pandemic, the uncertain economy, and the ever-changing working environment have brought about unprecedented changes for most of us. From a business standpoint, I cannot recall a more challenging time for earning a living. So, I have learned to work harder and smarter.

In the insurance business, my preference has always been to meet clients face-to-face. However, that has become difficult under health restrictions. I have strived to become even more responsive to my client’s needs and preferences. Due to the pandemic, however, many have become difficult to communicate with as their lives also have become more complex and challenging.

Here is my “secret” to watchful waiting during these trying times. First, we must develop and maintain a strong and consistent prayer life. Christ followers must understand the significance of putting on the armor of God every morning. As the apostle Paul exhorts in Ephesians 6:10-11, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” We must resist the great temptation to succumb to our spiritual enemy’s wiles.

Paul continues in Ephesians 6:18: “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” Yes, my prayers are not just for my personal needs, but also for the many people God has put in my path – as well as others I barely know who diligently work for our Lord and those He puts in their paths. In this way, I am striving to do my part as a vibrant member of the family of God!

© 2022, all rights reserved. Jim Langley has been writing for more than 30 years while working as a life and health insurance agent. In recent years, his passion has turned to writing about his relationship with God. His goal is to encourage others to draw near to Him as well. A long-time member of CBMC, he started writing “Fourth Quarter Strategies” in 2014.

Reflection/Discussion Questions

  1.  Have you ever experienced a very situation – perhaps a health issue or financial crisis – that required a considerable of waiting before it could be resolved? If so, how have you responded.
  2. How do you understand the term, “watchful waiting”? What are some of the benefits, and the difficulties, of having to do this?
  3. What are some of the challenges you have encountered over the past year, whether related to the ongoing COVID pandemic or circumstances totally unrelated to that? Has your tendency been to try and resolve the situation quickly, or have you been receptive to a “watch and wait” approach? Explain your answer.
  4. When you encounter formidable obstacles and different kinds of adversity, what role – if any – does your faith play in how you respond to them?

NOTE: For more about what the Bible says about this topic, consider the following passages:
Psalm 130:5-6; Luke 12:35-37; Ephesians 6:13-17; Philippians 4:6-7; 1 Peter 5:6-9


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