為什麼這麼多人如此懼怕?──WHY ARE SO MANY OF US SO FEARFUL?

對我們大多數人來說,在過去的 18 個月左右(甚至更長的時間裡),恐懼每天都伴隨著我們。新冠疫情爆發是其中的一部分。這是我們一生中從未經歷過的懼怕,它給社會和全世界蒙上了痛苦與死亡的深深陰影。 COVID-19 的衍生效應和強制警戒措施影響了我們的日常生活以及我們的生意,通常是用非常令人不安,甚至引發恐懼的方式席捲而來。人們開始失業了,業主如果不是被迫關門大吉,就大幅減少他們的營業。未來會怎樣,一直壟罩在不確定之中。

尤有甚者,更有接二連三來自媒體無情的壞消息,就像是早中晚三餐還外加「餐間點心」的放送給我們。這也就是為什麼,即使沒有感染病毒,我們很多人仍然感覺像病了般的不舒服。這不是一種健康的生活方式。

而治療的方法是什麼呢?或者至少是面對這種瀰漫各處的疫情恐懼在任何方面的補救措施,該如何呢?我發現選擇透過專注在來自上帝那美好的、確定的、不會動搖的應許來展開每一天是非常重要的。上帝是我們在聖經中找到始終如一、永不改變的那一位。以下是許多保證的例子:

在任何危機中,上帝總是與我們同在。當我們感到孤獨,甚至被遺棄時,我們有祂的應許,就是祂會一直在我們身邊,引導、帶領我們度過無論多麼可怕或絕望的難關。 「你們當剛強壯膽,不要害怕,也不要畏懼他們,因為耶和華─你的 神和你同去。他必不撇下你,也不丟棄你。」(申命記 31章6節)。

對永不改變上帝的信心使我們站立的穩。有時,當一切看起來似乎都陷入混亂,完全失控的時候,然而希伯來書 12篇28節 宣稱那些跟隨主耶穌基督的人卻可以「…得了不能震動的國…」,而我們的回應會是,如詩篇 46:2-3 所說的「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」。

當我們面臨的挑戰看起來如此強大以至於我們無力站立時,上帝會扶持我們。在我們還是幼兒學走路的時候,當我們似乎要摔倒時,父母總是會在那裡接著我們,甚至抓住我們的手。上帝是一位慈愛的父親,即使我們沒有意識到這一點,祂也會這樣做。「然而,我常與你同在;你攙著我的右手。你要以你的訓言引導我,以後必接我到榮耀裏。」(詩73篇23-24節)。

我有個建議。每天我都要做一個選擇:是深陷在這個世界鬧劇的爛泥裡,或者浸泡在上帝啟示的真理中呢?我的一天不以淹沒在負面新聞和可怕的評論中開始,而是從專注上帝開始。每天早上,我都會閱讀莎拉.揚恩 (Sarah Young) 撰寫的鼓舞人心的靈修文章《耶穌的叮嚀》(Jesus Calling) 展開一天。之後我會閱讀其他我認為有幫助的日常靈修,然後再閱讀聖經中的幾個篇章,在一年內從頭到尾讀完一遍。

時間和經驗告訴我,我必須浸泡和沉浸在上帝永不改變的真理中。如果不這樣做,這個世界、我那無可否認的軟弱與罪性(聖經中稱之為我的「肉體」)以及我周圍一切不聖潔的事物,很快就會把我推入深淵。

你自己日常的屬靈操練如何?它們是否在幫助你被上帝的聖靈充滿甚至滿溢出來,而給你力量、希望、智慧和平安呢?

Ken Korkow居住在美國內布拉斯加州的奧馬哈市,他擔任該地的CBMC區域總監。本篇文章改編自他的「生活傳真」專欄。經許可使用。

備註:如果你有聖經並想閱讀更多內容,請參考以下經文(因經文篇幅較長,請查閱未列出的經文以賽亞書40:27-31 )
以賽亞書 41章10-14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。
41:11 凡向你發怒的必都抱愧蒙羞;與你相爭的必如無有,並要滅亡。
41:12 與你爭競的,你要找他們也找不著;與你爭戰的必如無有,成為虛無。
41:13 因為我耶和華─你的 神必攙扶你的右手,對你說:不要害怕!我必幫助你。
41:14 你這蟲雅各和你們以色列人,不要害怕!耶和華說:我必幫助你。你的救贖主就是以色列的聖者。
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7節
5:7 你們要將一切的憂慮卸給 神,因為他顧念你們。
馬太福音 7章24-27節
7:24 「所以,凡聽見我這話就去行的,好比一個聰明人,把房子蓋在磐石上;
7:25 雨淋,水沖,風吹,撞著那房子,房子總不倒塌,因為根基立在磐石上。
7:26 凡聽見我這話不去行的,好比一個無知的人,把房子蓋在沙土上;
7:27 雨淋,水沖,風吹,撞著那房子,房子就倒塌了,並且倒塌得很大。」
7:28 耶穌講完了這些話,眾人都希奇他的教訓;
7:29 因為他教訓他們,正像有權柄的人,不像他們的文士。

反省與問題討論

  1. 自2020年初以來,你的情緒和整體狀態如何?什麼會給你帶來最大的恐懼或焦慮呢?而你又是如何處理它們的?
  2. 閱讀和觀看每日新聞對你的思想和態度有什麼影響?如果有的話,你用什麼方法來降低這些似乎環繞著我們的負面信息的效果呢?
  3. 你認為靈性(你的信仰)會對你面對生活挑戰的方式有任何的改變嗎?無論是在面對全球疫情或是日常出現的問題時,請解釋你的答案。
  4. 你對文章中建議從專注上帝來開始每一天的建議有何想法?也就是說不專注於當天或前一天的事件,而是首先花時間專注於上帝、祂的品格和祂的應許。如果你有時間與神親近或「靈修時間」,對你來說那是什麼樣的情況?

WHY ARE SO MANY OF US SO FEARFUL?

By Ken Korkow

For the majority of us, over the past 18 months or so – or perhaps even longer – fear has been a daily companion. Part of it has been the pandemic itself, unprecedented in our lifetimes, which has cast a deep shadow of pain and death across our society and the world. The ramifications of COVID-19 and the restrictions imposed have affected our daily lives, as well as our businesses, often in very unsettling, even fear-inducing ways. People have been out of work. Business owners have either had to close their doors or cut back on their services dramatically. What the future holds has been shrouded in uncertainty.

On top of this has been the relentless barrage of bad news from the media. It has served us a steady diet of fear for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Not including “snacks” in between. No wonder many of us have felt ill, even if we did not contract the virus. It has not been a healthy way to live.

What is the cure? Or at least a remedy for this pervasive pandemic of fear – in many respects, greater than the virus itself? I have found the importance of choosing to start each day by focusing on the good, the certain, the unshakable promises from God – the One who is always the same, never changing, that we find in the Bible. Here are a sampling of many such assurances:

Through any crisis, God is always with us. When we feel alone, even abandoned, we have His promise that He is at our side at all times, guiding and sometimes carrying us through our circumstances, no matter how dire or desperate. “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6).

Faith in an unchanging God holds us firm. At times everything seems to be in chaos, in total disarray. But Hebrews 12:28 declares that those who follow the Lord Jesus Christ “are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken.” And our response should be, as Psalm 46:2 states, “Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea.”

When challenges facing us seem so strong we are too weak to stand, God sustains us. When we were children learning to walk, when we seemed about to fall a parent was there to catch us, even hold our hand. God is a loving Father who does that even when we are not aware of it. “Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold My right hand. You guide me with Your counsel, and afterward You will receive me to glory” (Psalm 73:23-24).

I have a suggestion. Every day I have a choice – to wallow in the drama of this world – or to marinate in God’s revealed Truth. Rather than beginning the day by drowning in negative news and fearful commentary, I start by focusing on God. Each morning I begin by reading an encouraging devotional, Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young. Then I read other daily devotionals that I have found helpful, and then read several chapters from the Bible I use which takes me through it, cover to cover in a year. 

Time and experience have taught me I must soak – marinate – In the immutable Truth of God. If not, this world, my  admittedly weak and sinful nature (what the Bible calls my “flesh”), and everything that is unholy around me quickly put me in the ditch. 

How are your own daily spiritual disciplines? Are they helping you to be filled – to overflowing – with His Holy Spirit to give you strength, hope, wisdom and peace?

Ken Korkow lives in Omaha, Nebraska, U.S.A., where he serves as an area director for CBMC. This is adapted from his “Fax of Life” column. Used with permission.

Reflection/Discussion Questions

  1. How would you describe your emotions and overall attitude since the beginning of 2020? What caused your greatest fears or anxieties – and how did you handle them?
  2. What impact does reading and watching the daily news have upon your thoughts and attitudes? What methods, if any, do you use to minimize the effects of negative information that seems to surround us?
  3. Does spirituality – your faith – make any difference in how you respond to life’s challenges, whether it’s a global pandemic or just everyday problems that arise? Explain your answer.
  4. What is your reaction to the suggestion for starting each day by focusing not on the events of the day, or the previous day, but taking time at first to focus on God, His character and His promises? If you have a time for personal meditation or a “quiet time,” what is that like for you?

NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more, consider the following passages: Isaiah 40:27-31, 41:10-14; Philippians 4:6-7; 1 Peter 5:7; Matthew 7:24-27


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