衝破逆境

Ed Thompson

很多年來,我一直對說故事的力量很有興趣。我相信每個人都有一個值得訴說的生命故事。我來給你做個示範,你知道連驢子都有自己的生命故事嗎?這是一個關於土的小故事。

這個故事是說有一個農夫的驢子滑了一跤,栽進去一個很舊的乾井裡。農夫發現以後,想盡各種辦法要把他的愛驢救出來,因為這匹驢子已經是他們家裡的一員了。

最後農夫找到一個可行的方法可以把驢子救出那口深井,就是把那口井填平。農夫感到非常地痛苦,因為這就意味著這匹驢子要被活埋。最後他安慰自己說,至少井填平之後,不會有人再遭到像驢子一樣的不幸了。

當這個農夫把土鏟進那口井的時候,土落在驢子的背上。驢子沒有疑慮地把土抖落,把腳下的土踏平。令人吃驚的事發生了,幾個小時之後,驢子上升到井邊。牠徘迴了一下就踏歩離開井了。原先以為這是驢子的死期最後變成牠的拯救了。

在壓力之下,我們當中有幾個人會面對危機、獲得勝利而且高升像那匹驢子一樣?我們一生當中都會遇到各樣的陷阱、身心靈或是情緒各方面讓我們灰頭土臉的狀況。也許你現在就在這樣的狀況裡面。問題是,我們如何去轉換和解決這些逆境?有時候,我們聽有時候會到某人說,即使在某些狀況之下,他們還是過的很好 (doing all right)。我會很想問,你們做了什麼?

這匹驢子的故事提醒了我,聖經裡面對於逆境有不一樣的解釋,但是結果是差不多的。那是先知以利亞的故事,記載在列王記上十八、十九章。這兩章很值得你花時間去讀完。下面我則是簡短摘要。

以利亞在迦密山上大勝假先知之後,掉入沮喪當中。在激動的情緒和事件過後,以利亞的情緒突然之間跌入谷底。也許是因為之前危機解決了之後,壓力突然抽離的緣故,這位先知突然覺得沒有能力去解決其他的問題了。

有一些人怪罪以利亞,說他沒有信心。但真相是:以利亞也只是人而已。他也有人的軟弱。「以利亞與我們是一樣性情的人,他懇切禱告,求不要下雨,雨就三年零六個月不下在地上。」(雅各書5章17節)在超自然地打敗數百個假先知之後,以利亞的情緒像雲霄飛車一樣往下掉,當遇到耶洗別皇后威脅要殺了他的時候,以利亞被打敗並且逃走了。

如果你讀了以利亞其他的故事,你會看到神後來一連串神聖的救援行動。神沒有責備他,相反的,在下一場屬靈爭戰之前,神超自然地餵飽他、讓他休息、恢復他。

那你呢?是否被逆境壓得喘不過氣來?或者你剛經歷過一個職場或生活上極大的勝利,現在卻感覺情緒非常低落?你的精力和熱情耗盡,讓你感覺像是瘸子或是一堆破爛? 求告神讓祂恢復你,並且在下一場屬靈爭戰之前準備好。

摘錄自「每週E爆」單一目標事工一書。作者為愛德.湯普森。他住在美國北卡羅來納州,靠近格林斯伯樂,他是CBMC田納西州查塔努加的聯合同工。

省思 / 討論題目
你聽過驢子的故事嗎?你覺得這個故事對我們的生命有什麼啟示? 當你背著沉重的擔子或是面對看起來沒有辦法克服的壓力時,你通常會如何反應? 如果你讀過以利亞戰勝數百個拜巴力的假先知的故事,就知道他的勝利非常明顯就是神蹟。但後來他面對耶洗別的死亡威脅反應卻是完全相反,你如何看待這件事? 在你的一生是否也像以利亞一樣,你覺得自己沒有辦法在去面對任何一個問題,無論它是大還是小?你只想趕快逃跑,躲避壓力?如果你現在正處在這樣的景況或著將來發生這樣的事情,你希望神如何回應你?解釋你的答案。備註:如果你手上有聖經,想要看看或是討論其他與這篇主題相關的經節,請看:列王記上18-19章;以賽亞書40章31節;羅馬書5章3-5節;哥林多後書12章9-10節;彼得前書5章7節

DIGGING OUT FROM ADVERSITY
Ed Thompson

For years I have been intrigued by the power of telling stories. I believe every one of us has a story, a story worth telling. I am about to demonstrate for you that even a donkey has a story, a "dirty" little story.

This tale concerns a farmer’s donkey that stumbled and fell into an old, dry well. Upon discovering the incident, the farmer evaluated various possibilities for freeing his beloved donkey, which had come to be regarded as a virtual member of the family.

Finally, finding no viable solution for getting the donkey out of the very deep well, the farmer decided to fill the well with dirt. The farmer felt deeply grieved, knowing this meant burying the donkey alive. But he consoled himself, knowing no one else would suffer the same disastrous fate as the clumsy donkey.

As the farmer emptied each shovel of dirt into the well, it fell on the donkey’s back. Undaunted, the donkey merely shook off the dirt and packed each shovelful of earth under his feet. Amazingly, after a few hours and hundreds of shovel loads of dirt, the donkey had risen above the edge of the well. With a lurch, it jumped over the side of the well and trotted off. What initially had seemed like the donkey”s demise turned out to be its salvation.

Under stress, which of us could confront such a crisis and rise up victoriously like the donkey? We all encounter pitfalls and "dirty" physical, spiritual, and emotional burdens on the path of life. You might be confronting one right now. The question is: How can we sift through and overcome these adversities? We sometimes hear people state they are “doing all right under the circumstances.” When I hear this, I feel tempted to reply, “What are you doing under there?”

This donkey story reminds me of a very different account, from the Bible, that had similar results. It is the story of the prophet Elijah, recounted in 1 Kings, chapters 18 and 19. It would be worth your time to read the two chapters in their entirety, but here is a brief summation.

After a decisive victory on Mt. Carmel confronting prophets of false gods, Elijah, the prophet for the true God of Israel, went into a depression. As is sometimes the case following events that send emotions soaring to unprecedented peaks, Elijah”s emotions plunged. Perhaps it was stress hormones subsiding once the crisis was overcome, but the prophet suddenly felt incapable of facing another problem.

Some readers fault Elijah, claiming he lacked faith. The truth is, this prophet was not indestructible. He was a man with human weaknesses, “a man just like us” (James 5:17). After participating in the supernatural defeat of hundreds of false prophets, Elijah”s emotional rollercoaster spiraled downward. Upon receiving a threat on his life by Queen Jezebel, Elijah succumbed to fear and fled.

If you read the rest of Elijah”s story, you will see God orchestrating a divine rescue. Instead of chastising Elijah, God feeds him and lets him rest before restoring him and sending him back to the spiritual battle.

What about you? Are you feeling overwhelmed by adversity? Or maybe you have experienced great victory, either at work or in your home, but feel strangely depleted emotionally. Your energy and motivation are sapped, leaving you feeling like a limp rag. If so, remember the stories of the donkey and the prophet Isaiah. Ask God to restore you – and then be prepared to return to the battle.

Adapted from the “Weekly E-Blast,” weekly devotional from Single Purpose Ministries, by Ed Thompson. He lives near Greensboro, North Carolina, U.S.A. He was an associate staff member with CBMC in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Reflection/Discussion Questions
Had you ever heard the story of the donkey before? What is your response to it – what can this teach us for our own lives? What do you typically do when facing serious, even seemingly insurmountable burdens and pressures? If you read the account of Elijah”s triumph over the hundreds of prophets for the false gods of Baal and Asherah, you will see the circumstances of his victory were clearly miraculous. What do you think of his subsequent response when confronted with a death threat from the queen? Has there ever been a time in your life when, like Elijah, you felt you could not face another problem – large or small – and you just wanted to run, to flee from the pressure? If you have – or if something like that should occur in the future – how would you expect God to respond to you? Explain your answer.NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages: 1 Kings 18-19; Isaiah 40:31; Romans 5:3-5; 2 Corinthians 12:9-10; 1 Peter 5:7

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