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二○一八年九月二十九日/九月三十日                                                                                    Click here for English version

在試驗中滿足

蕭壽華牧師

聖經多處講述神會試驗人。試驗不單是要顯露人的生命實況,更是要把生命美善的質素提煉出來,並且讓這些美善得以鞏固。

以色列人在曠野的時候,每天都要面對艱難的處境。他們雖然是在沒有水沒有糧的地方生活,但卻經歷神從天上降下嗎哪的神蹟。然而,這個每天出現的神蹟並未能滿足他們對安全感的渴求——我對明天的掌握。神對摩西說:「我要將糧食從天降給你們。百姓可以出去,每天收每天的分,我好試驗他們遵不遵我的法度」(出十六 4)。百姓按神的吩咐,各人按著自己的飯量,每天出去收取。有些百姓害怕明天或不再有嗎哪,就留下一些待將來吃用,但原來早晨留下來的嗎哪是會發臭,然而,第六天收取的雙分嗎哪卻沒有發臭,反之,第七天不聽指示仍出去收取的,不管多努力尋索,卻甚麼也找不到。神對他們說:「你們不肯守我的誡命和律法,要到幾時呢?」

神賜下每天供應的應許,也賜下第七天的安息,但人卻把保障從神的應許轉往自己對生活供應的掌握,結果他們不單是徒勞無功,失去安息,而且也經不起試驗,以致生命不能進入神的豐盛中。怎樣才可以在試驗中成功呢?不是不去為事情籌謀,而是「以神為今天及永恆的保障」——就算眼前和將來都沒有可見的保障、儲備,仍絕不以違背神旨意的方法去試圖掌握未來。正如保羅所言:「但要凡事察驗;善美的要持守,各樣的惡事要禁戒不做。」(帖前五 21-22)在不安的心境下,我們仍要小心察驗:我是負責任地去管理生活?還是在不信中用世界的方法去建立自己的保障,以致得罪神,在試驗中失敗?

受神試驗的時候,人會面對各種不同的缺乏、苦難、病患、壓迫。這些困難,有些可能是撒但的攻擊(正如保羅身上的一根刺),神沒有阻止這些困難,是因為祂要把惡者的攻擊化為對我們的祝福,並藉此對我們進行試驗,讓生命的美善可以出現。主告訴保羅:「我的恩典夠你用的。」這句話是表示祂不會挪走苦難,但保羅卻可以憑藉恩典忍耐面對,讓苦難結出美善的果子。保羅深明此道理,故此他以滿足於這些軟弱、艱難為回應——「就以軟弱、凌辱……為可喜樂的(或譯為滿足)」(I am content with weaknesses, insults)——坦然領受試驗要給他的豐富。






Pastor's Sharing
Contentment amid Trials
Rev Gordon Siu

In many places of the Bible, we see man being tested by God. Trials not only expose the real face of our lives. They also distil and consolidate the good qualities of life within us.

Life was hard for the Israelites in the wilderness. In the absence of food and water, the daily miracles of the manna from heaven did not stop them seeking a sense of security. They wanted some control over the future. God said to Moses, "I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions" (Exodus 16:4). So the people went out each day and gathered enough for that day. But some of them were worried about the continued supply of manna, and kept some for future consumption. The next morning, the manna began to smell. On the contrary, the extra portion of manna brought in on the sixth day by those who obeyed God did not stink. Those who disobeyed God's guidance and tried to collect manna on the seventh day ended up wasting their effort. They found nothing. God said to them, "How long will you refuse to keep my commands and my instructions?"

God gave a promise of daily supplies, and gave rest on the Sabbath. However, man wanted to change the guarantee from God's promise into a grasp of daily supplies. In doing so, man not only wasted his effort and missed his rest, but he also lost the trial. When we cannot enter the richness of God, how can we win the trial? This is not to say that we should not plan ahead, but we should take God as our assurance for today and for eternity. Even in the absence of any seen or foreseeable assurance or reserve, we should never try to control the future by any means contrary to God's will. This is why Paul said, "…but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil" (1 Thessalonians 5:21-22). In restlessness, we should still carefully identify what is responsible management of life and what is the making of our own assurance in disbelief using worldly means. The latter offends God and fails the trial.

When tested by God, man faces all kinds of difficulties: deficiency, hardship, sickness, persecution. Some of these are an attack by Satan just like the thorn in the flesh of Paul. However, God does not stop them. It is because God wants the attack of the evil one to be turned into a blessing for us, and to be a trial for us that will bring forth the goodness of life. The Lord told Paul, "My grace is sufficient for you." This means God would not take away the hardship, but with grace Paul was to persevere and face the difficulties so that in the end, the hardship would bear good fruit. With understanding, Paul responded to the weaknesses and hardship with contentment – "I am content with weaknesses, insults" (English Standard Version) and calmly waited for the richness to be brought him through the trials.