找到痛苦背後的目的

By Jim Langley

曾經有人說:「我不介意承受痛苦,只是不要這麼沉重就好!」我深表認同。有一段時間我一直處在右腿的劇痛中,那真是讓我難以忍受。令人吃驚的是,這只不過是脊椎的椎間盤稍微窄了一點,却能造成這麼大的不適。

當然,痛苦可能以許多種方式出現,不一定只限於身體。而且它會不斷地在我們的生活中出沒。不論痛苦是怎樣的形式,都很容易讓人沮喪、軟弱且讓我們無法享受日常生活。

許多女人都經歷過生產之痛。我的一位朋友甚至經歷過八次的膝蓋手術。痛苦也可能是以精神苦悶的形式出現。「創傷後壓力症候群」就是其中一個例子,不論是軍人在戰場上經歷極大的創傷,緊急救難人員親眼目睹人們受苦與死亡,或者有人忍受極大的虐待。還有人經歷各式各樣的上癮之苦。情緒上的低落也會讓人覺得毫無希望。

對於在職場上的我們,痛苦是絕對不會缺乏的:達不到目標與願望;失業;生意失敗;失去客戶或訂單;沒得到我們認為應得的升遷或加薪;財務艱困,甚至破產;在工作中面對不講理的人,包括客戶、老闆和同事。

該如何減輕痛苦,我們有許多選擇。我們可以靠藥物壓制。有時面對長期的傷痛,我們可以忽略它,拒絕承認痛苦的存在。我們也可能轉移焦點沉迷於其他的事,來幫助我們暫時忘記痛苦。令人傷心的是,偶爾我們會聽到有的人為了逃避痛苦,結束了自己的生命。當然,這種做法並不能真正解決痛苦的問題。反而是製造了更多的痛苦,讓愛我們的人去承受。

幸運的是,我發現有一種方式可以克服痛苦,而且屢試不爽。它可以幫助我們用積極的態度,面對生命中任何形式的痛苦和艱難!

我一開始總是先禱告,要了解上帝讓我經歷這痛苦的目的何在?即使祂選擇不讓我知道祂的目的是甚麼,但我相信上帝完全知道我所承受的苦痛,而且這苦痛是為了祂永恆的目的和我們的益處所產生。 在耶利米書29章11節上帝說:「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。」

經驗教導我要相信祂掌管一切,持續動工來改變我們能成為祂兒子的樣式。「沒有痛苦就沒有收穫!」 雖然聖經中沒有這句話,但這短短的一句話卻蘊含著許多真理。我相信生命中的痛苦會讓我們有許多收穫,只要我們願意等待。正如羅馬書5章3節所說:「不但如此,就是在患難中也是歡歡喜喜的;因為知道患難生忍耐,忍耐生老練,老練生盼望。」

當我們面對痛苦時,我們一定會祈求痛苦消失,但通常它並不會消失。直到我們能從中學到功課,或許痛苦才會過去,但若它持續不走,那我們可以從使徒保羅的確據中找到信心。他說:「為這事,我三次求過主,叫這刺離開我。他對我說:我的恩典夠你用的,因為我的能力是在人的軟弱上顯得完全。」(哥林多後書12章8-9節)。有了這樣的確據我們就可以這麼禱告:「主阿,我謙卑地承認,祢的恩典夠我這位基督的跟隨者用。」

吉姆.朗立自1983年起就擔任紐約人壽的保險經紀人和特許人壽保險承銷商,從1987年起他也是美國加州聖塔巴巴拉CBMC分會的活躍會員。此篇文章改編自他的「最後四分之一場的策略」的討論,這些討論是為了在基督徒工商專業人士點一把火,使他們為耶穌基督在職場上更有效能。他的網站是www.fourthquarterstrategies.com

省思/討論題目

當你經歷生命中或工作上的痛苦時,不論是何種形式的痛苦,你一向是如何回應? 我們是否應該聳聳肩,承認痛苦(病痛、挫折、逆境、困難)只是生命中的一部份,但我們無能為力?請解釋。 無論我們的痛苦是甚麼,背後都有上帝的目的。你對這句話有何看法?當你無法看出那目的時,你的感覺是甚麼? 上帝說:「我的恩典夠你用的,因為我的能力是在人的軟弱上顯得完全。」請用你自己的話說明這是甚麼意思。你相信這句話嗎?為什麼?

註:若你想看聖經中有關此主題的其他經文,請參考以下經節:約伯記42章1-6節,42章10節;哥林多後書12章7-10節;腓力比書1章20節;雅各書4章5-7節

FINDING PURPOSE BEHIND THE PAIN

By Jim Langley

Someone once made the observation, “I wouldn”t mind pain if it didn”t hurt so much!” We can all relate to that. For some time now I have been dealing with sharp pain shooting down my right leg, excruciating at times. It is amazing how a slight narrowing of discs in the spine can cause so much discomfort.

Of course, pain comes in many packages, not just physical. And it keeps recurring in all of our lives. Whatever form it takes, pain can easily lead to despair and feeling debilitated, and distract us from the enjoyment of everyday life.

Many women have experienced the pain associated with childbirth. One of my friends has been through eight knee surgeries. Pain can take the form of mental anguish. PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) is just one example, whether for a soldier who has experienced great trauma on the battlefield, emergency workers that have witnessed firsthand the pain of human suffering and death, or individuals who have endured great abuse in their personal lives. There is the pain suffered by people afflicted by many types of addiction. The pain of emotional depression can leave a person with feelings of hopelessness.

And for those of us in the workplace, there is no shortage of pain: Unrealized goals and aspirations; job terminations; failed businesses; lost clients and sales contracts; not receiving promotions or pay raises we thought were well-deserved; financial hardships, including bankruptcy; or dealing with unreasonable people at work, including employers, bosses and coworkers.

There are many options for dealing with pain. We can medicate it. We can ignore it, stuffing it inside and refusing to acknowledge it, often to our long-term detriment. We can become obsessed with pursuits that help us forget our pain temporarily. Sadly, we occasionally hear of people who decide to escape the pain by taking their own lives. None of these approaches, of course, can truly resolve the problem of pain. Often they create more pain for those close to us to endure.

Fortunately, I have discovered one way to deal with pain that without fail can help us get a positive handle on whatever forms that pain and adversity take in our lives!

For me, it always starts with prayer and realizing God has a purpose in whatever I”m going through, even if He chooses not to let me know what His purpose might be. In Jeremiah 29:11, God states, “For I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Even when we do not understand the reason for the pain we endure, we can trust God is fully aware of it and will use it for His eternal purposes – and for our good.

Experience has taught me that I also need to trust He is in control, continuing to work at transforming me more and more into the image of His Son. The saying, “No pain, no gain!” cannot be found in the Bible, but there is much truth found in that short phrase. I believe with the pains of life we can and will find much to gain, if we are willing to wait for and expect it. As it states in Romans 5:3, “we rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”

As we deal with pain, our tendency is to plead for it to subside, but often it does not. Perhaps it would pass faster if we would learn from it more quickly, but even when it persists, we can find confidence in the assurance the apostle Paul had when he observed, “Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me, but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness”” (2 Corinthians 12:8-9). With this perspective we can pray. “Lord, I humbly admit that Your grace is sufficient for this follower of Christ.”

© 2016, all rights reserved. Jim Langley has been an agent and chartered life underwriter (CLU) with New York Life since 1983 and an active member of CBMC of Santa Barbara, California, U.S.A. since 1987. Adapted from one of his “Fourth Quarter Strategies” discussions, these are designed to “light a fire under Christian business and professional men to become more effective in the marketplace for Jesus Christ.” His website is: www.fourthquarterstrategies.com

Reflection/Discussion Questions

What is your typical reaction when you experience pain in your life, personally or professionally, in whatever form it may take? Should we simply shrug our shoulders and accept that pain – hardship, adversity and the difficulties of dealing with life”s struggles – is just a part of life and there is nothing we can do about it? Explain your answer. What do you think of the idea that God has a purpose behind our pain, whatever it might be? How do you feel when you cannot discern what that purpose could possibly be? Stating it in your own words, what does it mean when God declares, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness?” Do you believe this? Why or why not?

NOTE: If you would like to look at or discuss other portions of the Bible that relate to this topic, consider the following passages: Job 42:1-6; Job 42:10; 2 Corinthians 12:7-10; Philippians 1:20; James 4:5-7

Show More