當生活迫使你進入暫停模式──WHEN LIFE FORCES YOU INTO ‘PAUSE’ MODE

MONDAY MANNA

你知道電視、電腦或手機上的影片都有個「暫停」鍵嗎?不管我們喜不喜歡(不喜歡居多),生活有時也會被迫按下暫停鍵。但我知道,如果發生了,這就是一個特別的機會讓我們退後一步思考,評估我們的過去、現在的位置,將來的方向,或者至少我們認為將來的方向。

如果我們夠留意的話,即使是意外的、不便的暫停也有它的價值和目的。因為我們很容易陷入這個世界的「忙碌」,而忽略了真正與我們相關的事。不是說生活不重要,但是當我們用更寬廣的角度來看時,生活的重要性通常不如我們想像的重要。

我生命中最重大的停頓也許是在多年前,患上雙側肺炎後在重症加護病房住了四天時。幸運的是,我的醫生說服了我住院,不然我就成了一個統計數字。當時我的兩個肺部充滿液體,我成了行走的定時炸彈。短暫的住院時間不但讓我有時間治療和復原,也讓我能停下來思考自己生命的優先事項,進行調整。

在《詩篇》中,經常出現「細拉」一詞。這個希伯來字似乎被音樂家或作詞者當成音樂標記,讓讀者或歌手停下來思考一下前面詩歌的內容。在哈巴谷書中也曾三度出現這種音樂印記,內容談到了自從有人類以來,神的偉大。先知向我們提出正式邀請,要讓我們住在創造宇宙真神的美好中,並學會默然信任祂。

我的另一個生命逗號是在戰鬥區待了18個月。即便當時我與上帝並不親近,但現在回想才意識到那段時間上帝如何塑造並堅固了我。回顧過去,雖然我沒有專注祂的作為,但我仍然可以知道上帝一直在那裡看顧著我。

就像我們的電子設備和軟體有暫停功能,能控制觀看和收聽的速度一樣,上帝也經常在我們生活的這個世界上使用屬天的「暫停鍵」。或許對你來說,新冠肺炎的限制就像一個暫停鍵,但我們繼續面對當前疫病大流行的過程中,我們仍然知道全能的上帝是主宰,因此我們能有極大的安慰,不需要感到太驚訝或太擔心。就算我們不知道疫情會如何,祂還是會用環境來引導我們穿越未知的領域。

我發現詩篇46篇,是非常具有引導性的。前四節經文中寫道:「神是我們的避難所,是我們的力量,是我們在患難中隨時的幫助。所以,地雖改變,山雖搖動到海心,其中的水雖匉訇翻騰,山雖因海漲而戰抖,我們也不害怕。(細拉)有一道河,這河的分汊使 神的城歡喜;這城就是至高者居住的聖所。」停頓之後,我們讀到:「你們來看耶和華的作為,看他使地怎樣荒涼。他止息刀兵,直到地極;他折弓、斷槍,把戰車焚燒在火中。你們要休息,要知道我是 神!我必在外邦中被尊崇,在遍地上也被尊崇。萬軍之耶和華與我們同在;雅各的 神是我們的避難所!」(詩篇46篇8-11節)。

這就是說,我們不僅可以指望上帝暫停我們的生活,而且我們有需要的時候,祂一直都在。無論今天你面對的是什麼挑戰,都可以用聖經的話給自己力量和鼓勵。

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)。

反省與問題討論

  1. 你多久會使用一次電子設備(電視、智慧型手機、電腦、影片播放器)上的暫停鍵?你暫停都是為了做甚麼?
  2. 你能理解本篇週一嗎哪所說「生活的暫停」的概念嗎? 如果可以,你有這樣的經歷嗎?或者你現在正在經歷中呢?
  3. 當你遇到生活的暫停,尤其它打亂了你精心設計、深思熟慮的計劃時,你通常會做出什麼反應?
  4. 如果我們真的相信上帝允許生活中出現這些暫停,並使用它們來引導我們的生活,幫助我們靈性增長,那麼當祂提出「停止信號」或告訴我們停止時,我們該如何回應?

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(因經文篇幅較長,請參閱未列出的經文詩篇31:19-22節)

詩篇37篇4-7、34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。
37:6 他要使你的公義如光發出,使你的公平明如正午。
37:7 你當默然倚靠耶和華,耐性等候他;不要因那道路通達的和那惡謀成就的心懷不平。
37:34 你當等候耶和華,遵守他的道,他就抬舉你,使你承受地土;惡人被剪除的時候,你必看見。
詩篇46篇10節
46:10 你們要休息,要知道我是 神!我必在外邦中被尊崇,在遍地上也被尊崇。
哈巴谷書3章16-18節
3:16 我聽見耶和華的聲音,身體戰兢,嘴唇發顫,骨中朽爛;我在所立之處戰兢。我只可安靜等候災難之日臨到,犯境之民上來。
3:17 雖然無花果樹不發旺,葡萄樹不結果,橄欖樹也不效力,田地不出糧食,圈中絕了羊,棚內也沒有牛;
3:18 然而,我要因耶和華歡欣,因救我的 神喜樂。
路加福音11章9-10節
11:9 我又告訴你們,你們祈求,就給你們;尋找,就尋見;叩門,就給你們開門。
11:10 因為,凡祈求的,就得著;尋找的,就尋見;叩門的,就給他開門。
約翰福音10章25-29節
10:25 耶穌回答說:「我已經告訴你們,你們不信。我奉我父之名所行的事可以為我作見證;
10:26 只是你們不信,因為你們不是我的羊。
10:27 我的羊聽我的聲音,我也認識他們,他們也跟著我。
10:28 我又賜給他們永生;他們永不滅亡,誰也不能從我手裏把他們奪去。
10:29 我父把羊賜給我,他比萬有都大,誰也不能從我父手裏把他們奪去。


WHEN LIFE FORCES YOU INTO ‘PAUSE’ MODE

By Jim Langley

You know the “Pause” button you have on your TV, or the video you are watching on your computer or smartphone? Sometimes life presses the “Pause” button, whether we like it or not. Often we don’t. But I have learned when that happens, it creates a unique opportunity to step back and assess where we have been, where we are at present, and where we are going – or at least, where we think we are going. 

Even unplanned, inconvenient pauses can serve a worthwhile purpose if we pay attention. We can easily get caught up in the “busyness” of this world and lose sight of what is truly relevant. This is not to say much of life is irrelevant, but it is often less important than we thought as we look at the bigger picture.

Perhaps the most significant pause in my life came many years ago when I spent four days in an intensive care unit after contracting double pneumonia. Fortunately, my doctor persuaded me to admit myself into the hospital before I became a statistic. With both lungs partly filled with fluid, I had been a walking time bomb. That short hospital stay not only gave me time to heal and recover, but also allowed me to pause, reflect on my priorities, and adjust them accordingly.

Throughout the Book of Psalms, the word “Selah” often appears. This Hebrew word seems to be used as a musical mark used by the musician/lyricist, causing readers or singers to stop and reflect on what was previously presented. This musical mark is also found three times in the book of Habakkuk, which speaks of God’s greatness since the earliest days of humankind. The prophet challenges us to dwell on the goodness of the God of the universe and learn to trust Him implicitly.
            
Another of my pause moments was spending 18 months in a combat zone. Even though I was not close to God at the time, in retrospect I have since come to realize how that time served to mold and strengthen me. Looking back, I can see how God was always present, always watching over me, even when I was not paying attention. 

Just as our electronic devices and software packages include pause features for controlling our pace for watching and listening, God often uses a divine “pause button” on this world in which we live. Perhaps for you, COVID-19 restrictions have served in that role. As we continue to deal with the current pandemic, we can find great solace in knowing our Almighty God is sovereign, not at all surprised or worried. Even if we may not recognize it, He uses circumstances to navigate us through unchartered waters.

I have found Psalm 46 to be instructive. The first four verses read: “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. Selah.” Following this pause, we read, “Come and see the works of the Lord, the desolations he has brought on the earth. He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear, he burns the shields with fire. ‘Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in all the earth.’ The Lord almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress” (Psalm 46:8-11).

This says we can count on God not only to bring pauses into our lives, but also to be there during times of need. Whatever challenges you are facing today, draw on these words for strength and encouragement.

© 2020, 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. How often do you use the pause button on your electronics – your TV, smartphone, computer, video devices? What do you accomplish when you use it?   
  2. Can you relate to the concept of “life pauses” as described in this Monday Manna? If so, what has that experience been like for you? Are you going through one right now?
  3. What is your usual reaction when you encounter one of these pauses, especially if it seems to disrupt your carefully crafted, well thought out plans? 
  4. If we truly believe God not only allows these pauses in our lives, but also uses them to guide us through life and help us in our spiritual growth, how should this affect how we respond when God raises the “stop sign” or tells us it is time to wait?

NOTE: For more about what the Bible says about this topic, consider the following passages:
Psalm 31:19-22, 37:4-7,34, 46:10; Habakkuk 3:16-18; Luke 11:9-10; John 10:25-29

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