在混亂中找到平安

By:Robert J. Tamasy

你是否曾看過選美比賽中,其中一位參賽者聲稱,若她有一個願望可以實現,她希望「世界和平」?是的,這是一個八股的答案--而這願望實現的可能性就像雞下鴕鳥蛋。但不論用哪種方式,我們都渴望和平。遺憾的是,我們所活的這個世界裡,混亂(而非和平)似乎是正常現象。

天然的災害常常威脅我們的安全感--不論是颶風、海嘯、龍捲風、地震、酷暑或寒冬。而人為的災害也同樣使人不安--在美國墨西哥灣海岸區的大規模漏油事件就是一個最近的例子。因為企業的疏忽,幾百萬人的平安就消失了,而對環境的破壞可能會殘留幾十年。

即使在工商專業界,平安也不常見。全球性的經濟衰退殘酷地提醒我們經濟可以如此迅速且劇烈地惡化,摧毀事業,減少工作機會,而且嚴重地耗盡人們一度以為穩固的個人資產。但即使小規模的事件也會奪去我們內心的平安。例如,急迫的最後期限;重要客戶取消合約;同事所獲得的升遷是我本來以為自己會得到的;家庭醫生出乎意料地告訴你檢查報告結果很不好。

被這些大大小小的混亂所包圍下,我們如何找到平安?無論危機是什麼,或有多大的障礙,我們如何維持信心?即使對21世紀的職場,聖經也談到許多這方面的事,以下是一些例子:

平安並非建立在環境上。若你的盼望和信心常常是建立在你無法掌控的環境上,或建立在常常讓你失望的人身上,你就很難得到平安。有時生命似乎平靜,但下一刻混亂卻突然來到。聖經教導我們,只有在上帝那可信靠、不改變的性格裡,才能找到真正的平安。「堅心倚賴你的,你必保守他十分平安,因為他倚靠你」(以賽亞書26章3節)。

平安並非建立在這世上。我們常想在財物、個人成就、別人的肯定、專業的影響或與人的關係上找到平安。然而,以上那些事物所能提供的平安最多只是短暫的。東西會變舊和損壞、成就最終失去意義、而親愛的朋友和親人在某些方面不能達到我們的期望。這就是為何耶穌告訴祂的跟隨者說:「我留下平安給你們;我將我的平安賜給你們。我所賜的,不像世人所賜的。你們心裡不要憂愁,也不要膽怯」(約翰福音14章27節)。

平安並非建立在了解上。當你的生命突然跌了一個倒栽蔥,失去所有你以為會使你安穩的錨,似乎再也找不到平安,你倚靠的所有事物似乎都不見了。有時要你信靠上帝似乎不理性也不切實際,但只有對上帝的信心才是你得平安的唯一盼望。聖經應許我們,靠著禱告,且在患難中仍然感恩,可使我們進入內在長遠的平安。「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。神所賜、出人意外的平安必在基督耶穌裡保守你們的心懷意念」(腓立比書4章6-7節)。

無論你的環境有多黯淡,今天你會向上帝尋求平安嗎?

勞勃.泰默西是領袖資產協會的交通部副部長,這是一個總部在美國喬治亞州亞特蘭大的非營利組織。他也是一個有38年經驗的退休新聞工作者。他寫過一本書「最佳狀態的商業:箴言給今日職場的歷久彌新智慧」(Business At Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today”s Workplace)。他也與David A. Stoddard合著一本書「導師之心:啟發人們將其潛能發揮到極至的10個原則」(The Heart of Mentoring: 10 Proven Principles for Developing People to Their Fullest Potential)。要了解更多資訊, 可上網www.leaderslegacy.com 或上他的部落格www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com 。

思想 / 討論題目
當你聽到「平安」的這個詞,你的腦海裡會想到什麼?你如何形容內心的平安? 你對自己現在的生活有何感覺:你是否覺得平安?請解釋。 你是否同意我們所活的這個世界的特色是混亂而不是平安?為什麼? 本文所引述的聖經經文說,只有透過與上帝建立個人的關係才能得到真正的平安。你對此有何看法?註:若你有聖經且想要看有關此主題的其他經文,請看:
詩篇37篇1-7、34節;以賽亞書40章28-31節,41章10節;耶利米書29章11-13節;加拉太書5章22-23節;以弗所書2章14-18節

FINDING PEACE IN THE MIDST OF CHAOS

By: Robert J. Tamasy

Have you ever watched one of those beauty pageants where one of the contestants declares that if she could have one wish fulfilled, she would wish for “world peace”? Yes, that is a cliché answer – and about as likely to become reality as seeing a chicken lay an ostrich egg. But in one way or another, we all yearn for peace. Unfortunately, we live in a world where chaos – rather than peace – seems the norm.

Natural calamities constantly threaten our sense of peace – hurricanes, tsunamis, tornadoes, earthquakes, severe heat or cold. Manmade disasters can be just as unsettling – the massive, almost inconceivable oil spill in the Gulf Coast region of the United States is just one recent example. Because of industrial negligence, “peace” has been disappeared for millions, and environmental consequences likely will linger for decades.

Even in the business and professional world, peace is usually more the exception than the rule. The global recession has been a grim reminder of how quickly – and dramatically – the economy can deteriorate, destroying businesses, eliminating jobs, and severely depleting once seemingly secure personal resources. But even events of much smaller magnitude can steal our sense of inner peace as well: oppressive deadlines; canceled contracts from important customers; colleagues receiving promotions that we felt should have been ours; unexpected bad reports from the family physician.

Surrounded by such chaos, large and small, how can we possibly find peace, maintain a sense of confidence no matter what the crisis may be, no matter how great the obstacles may appear? The Bible has much to say about that, even for the 21st century workplace. Here are just a few examples:

Peace not based on circumstances. If your hope and confidence are based on circumstances, which often occur beyond your control – or people, who will often disappoint – peace will rarely, if ever, be yours. One moment, life may seem calm; the next, chaos reins. True peace can only be found, the Scriptures teach, in the unfailing, unchanging character of God. “You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you” (Isaiah 26:3).

Peace not based on this world. We attempt to find peace in material possessions, personal accomplishment and recognition, professional influence, or relationships. Yet peace that any of these can provide is temporary at best. Things get old and wear out, achievements eventually lose their significance, and dear friends and loved ones fail to live up to our expectations in one way or another. That is why Jesus made this startling declaration to His followers: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27).

Peace not based on understanding. When your life suddenly turns upside-down, loosening any anchor that you believed would hold firm in your life, peace no longer seems possible. Everything you ever trusted in seems gone. That is when faith in God, which sometimes seems irrational or unrealistic, can offer you the only hope for peace. Prayer, and thankfulness despite adversity, can direct us to deep, enduring peace, the Bible promises. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).

Will you look to God for peace today, no matter how dark your circumstances may seem?

Robert J. Tamasy is vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., a non-profit corporation based in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A. A veteran of more than 38 years in professional journalism, he is the author of Business At Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today”s Workplace (River City Press) and has coauthored with David A. Stoddard, The Heart of Mentoring: 10 Proven Principles for Developing People to Their Fullest Potential (NavPress). For more information, see www.leaderslegacy.com or his blog, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com.

Reflection/Discussion Questions
When you hear the word “peace,” what comes to your mind? How would you describe having a sense of inner peace? How does your life feel right now: Do you feel at peace? Explain your answer. Do you agree with the statement that chaos – rather than peace – seems to be the prevailing characteristic of the world in which we live? Why or why not? The biblical passages cited indicate that true peace can be achieved only through a personal relationship with God. How do you respond to that perspective?NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to review some other passages that relate to this topic, consider the following verses: Psalm 37:1-7,34; Isaiah 40:28-31, 41:10; Jeremiah 29:11-13; Galatians 5:22-23; Ephesians 2:14-18

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