By Jim Mathis
爾瑪．邦貝克（Erma Bombeck）是幽默大師和作家，她寫了兩本描述這兩種態度的書。其中一本書名是「化糞池邊的草總是比較綠The Grass is Always Greener Over The Septic Tank」，另一本書名是「若生活是輕鬆美好的，為何我總是在坑洞中？If Life is A Bowl of Cherries, Why Am I Always in the Pits?」你認為哪一本書反映出我們應該用樂觀的態度去面對生活中的艱苦和逆境？
省思 / 討論題目
當你遭遇生活中的困境時，你一向如何回應？ 當面對困難的情況時，把它當成去解決問題，而不是對我們平靜生活的干擾。這樣會有什麼益處？ 你是否喜歡解決問題？為什麼？ 聖經說，在每天的生活中經歷痛苦和試煉是有益的。你認為這是否切合實際？或者你認為我們應該盡量避免各樣的麻煩？請解釋。若你想要看或討論聖經中有關此主題的其他經文，請看：箴言12章11節，21章5節，24章30-34節；羅馬書8章35-39節；彼得前書1章6-9節，4章12-13節
LIFE IS DIFFICULT, BUT LIFE ALSO IS GOOD
By Jim Mathis
Life is difficult. This is a basic fact and the sooner we can come to accept and appreciate that reality, the better off and happier we will be. Let me explain.
If we know life is hard, that it is inevitable we will face many kinds of trials and difficult situations, we can begin to see life as a series of problems to be solved. We can face each day knowing we will have an opportunity to address problem situations, work through issues, and deal with difficult circumstances. Each time we solve a problem, we can feel victorious. The more victories we chalk up, the happier we are. Happiness always seems to be related to victory in some form.
If, on the other hand, we think life is supposed to be a leisurely cruise, a smooth journey from womb to grave, every problem we face will be perceived as an interruption, a disruption to our "happy" life. As these interruptions build up, we will find ourselves becoming embittered and discontented with our circumstances.
The wonderful humorist and writer, Erma Bombeck, authored two books that described these different attitudes. One she titled, The Grass is Always Greener Over The Septic Tank, and the other bore the title, If Life is A Bowl of Cherries, Why Am I Always in the Pits? Which one do you think reflected the view that life”s struggles and adversities should be approached in an optimistic manner?
One of the main reasons I have always been an entrepreneur because I enjoy solving problems. When you have your own business, life is a continual series of problems to be solved. Perhaps some people fail as entrepreneurs because rather than finding motivation and challenge in solving problems, they choose to regard them as annoying disturbances and obstacles blocking the realization of their dreams.
I have found this to be true in my photography business, especially when I engage in the restoration of old or damaged photographs. Sometimes this work can be extremely challenging, requiring me to use all the creativity, ingenuity and every technological resource I can muster. However, rather than becoming disheartened by difficulty, I see it as an opportunity to learn, apply my years of experience – and bring delight to customers when they receive cherished photos I have been able to restore.
This holds true for every enterprise, whether your vocation is banking, retail, engineering, sales, home repair or some other pursuit. Your life can be full and rewarding – even victorious – when you view each day as bringing something different, accompanied by new challenges and issues for you to confront.
In a similar way, the Bible speaks honestly about life”s struggles. It says, “…we rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit” (Romans 5:3-5). It also states, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4).
Yes, it is true – life is difficult. But it is also true that life is good.
Jim Mathis is the owner of a photography studio in Overland Park, Kansas, specializing in executive, commercial and theatrical portraits, and operates a school of photography. Jim is the author of High Performance Cameras for Ordinary People, a book on digital photography. He formerly was a coffee shop manager and executive director of CBMC in Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri.
How do you typically react when you encounter difficulties in life? What can be the advantage of approaching difficult situations as problems to be solved, rather than as interruptions or disruptions to our peaceful lives? Do you enjoy solving problems? Why or why not? The Bible speaks about the benefits of experiencing suffering and trials in everyday life. Do you think this is realistic, or do you think our focus in life should be to avoid problems of all kinds, as much as possible? Explain your answer.If you would like to look at or discuss other portions of the Bible that relate to this topic, consider the following brief sampling of passages: Proverbs 12:11, 21:5, 24:30-34; Romans 8:35-39, 12:12; 1 Peter 1:6-9, 4:12-13