Saturday 19 September 2020
Trusting Jesus in shadowy times
By Wong King Wai (黄经为)

Psalm 23: 4 “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

In this popular Psalm we are introduced to Jesus our shepherd who guides us through life. We, his children, are likened to sheep. If you have done any research on sheep, you will know they are not very bright. For example, if a sheep somehow rolls onto their back, they are not able to turn themselves back upright and if no one helps them, they will die.

Of course, no one purposely tries to do something that would kill themselves or put themselves in a difficult situation. However, sometimes a wrong choice is made and suddenly fear, doubts and uncertainty engulf them. During these times, it can feel like the very life breath of God has been taken away and the pressure is coming on all sides. It might even feel like they are dying. Ever felt that way yourself?

In verse 4 of the twenty-third Psalm, it highlights a very important thing: Jesus never leaves you on our own. I know you have heard that said many times, but do you truly believe that? And what is more amazing is that even through tough and dark times, Jesus, using his rod and staff, is there to guide you through the shadows; through the moments you can’t see more than a few feet ahead of you.

His rod and staff, which you might think is to strike at you and prod you mercilessly is actually a great comfort. How I came to see this is during a holiday where I had to climb up to the Tiger Nest Monastery in Bhutan.

It is a five hour hike all in all and I had to climb two mountains to reach the monastery. Before the climb, I was given a branch of a tree to use as a walking stick. The path up the mountains are along the sides of the mountain. I shudder to think what would happen if anyone would fall over.

As I started to trek, I was greatly comforted to have the branch with me because as I ascended I could use it to help push me up a step and it also provided me stability when I was descending the mountain. It was after a particularly challenging patch of descending a mountain and taking a rest break that Psalm 23:4 came to mind and I knew now what Jesus’ rod and staff was all about.

Jesus is our help in all circumstances. He loves you and me so much that he will give us his shoulder to lean on and be that staff of support and help when we walk into dark places in our lives – which could be financial, relational, emotional, physical or psychological dark pits or situations. It may not be intentional that we walk down these paths but as the verse implies, it is a personal choice to go down those paths. We as sheep, who aren’t the smartest animals around, sometimes make a wrong turn and end up in the valley of the shadow of death.

Thankfully it is only shadow and the best way to get rid of shadow is to shine a light. Jesus is our light and he is our shepherd. May we realise that we are his precious children and that he will never leave us in a lurch even though we behave like sheep and go our own way at times. Let us rejoice and be glad that we are led by a loving, gracious and even present Lord and Saviour!

PRAYER: I thank you Jesus for dying on the cross for my sins and for taking me as I am, warts and all. Thank you for never leaving me, forsaking me or abandoning me even when I make silly decisions that cause me to get really depressed and afraid that I feel like dying. Help me to trust your heart that you are guiding me through these challenging times because I don’t trust myself to get me out of this mess that I am in. Show me the way and guide me to where I should be so I can glorify your name and be a better disciple of Jesus. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN.

每日灵粮
星期六2020年9月19日
题目:在阴郁时期信靠耶稣
作者:黄经为弟兄
翻译:巫惠如姐妹

诗篇23: 4 我虽然行过死荫的幽谷,也不怕遭害,因为你与我同在,你的杖、你的竿都安慰我。

这首颇受欢迎的诗篇介绍耶稣为我们的牧羊人,他引导我们度过人生。身为他的孩子,我们被比作为羊。如果你对羊有一些研究,你会知道羊并不是很聪明。例如,如果羊一不小心摔得四脚朝天,它们无法自己转身,而且如果没人帮助,它们就会死在原地。

当然,没有人会自愿自害或让自己陷入困境。然而,当我们做了错误的选择时,恐惧、怀疑和不确定性会席卷而来。在当下,会感觉上帝所赐的生命气息已经消失了,四面八方的压力向你袭来。他们甚至会觉得自己快撑不住了。你有过这种感觉吗?

诗篇23:4强调了一件非常重要的事:耶稣从不让你独自一人。我知道你听过很多次,但你真的相信吗?更奇妙的是,即使在艰难黑暗的时刻,或当你看不到前方时,耶稣会用他的杖和竿指引你走过幽暗。

你可能认为他的杖和竿是用来无情地鞭打你,但实际上它们却是很大的安慰。我之所以会领悟到这一点,是因为在某个假期,我爬了不丹的虎巢修道院。

整段步行共五小时,我必须爬两座山才能到达修道院。我用一根树枝作为登山杖。上坡的路是沿着山边的。若是有人摔倒,后果真的不堪设想。

当我开始徒步登山时,我非常欣慰拥有树枝,因为当我上山时,它协助身体上升;当我下山时,它也给我足部助力,保持身体平衡。当我走完一段特别具挑战性的山坡并休息了一段时间后,我想起了诗篇23:4,我知道耶稣的杖和竿是为了什么。

耶稣是我们随时的帮助。他非常爱你我,以至于他愿意与我们肩并肩,在黑暗的地方 (也许是经济、个人关系、情感、身体或心理上的黑暗)成为我们的支持和帮助。也许我们并不是有意要走这些路,但正如诗篇所暗示的,沿着这些路往前走是个人的选择。身为羊群,我们不是最聪明的动物,有时会做出错误的决定,最终落入死荫的幽谷。

值得感恩的事,这只是荫影,而摆脱荫影的最佳方法是照一束光。耶稣是我们的光,他是我们的牧羊人。愿我们意识到,我们是他的宝贝孩子,他永远不会让我们陷入混乱,尽管我们的行为举止像羊一样,有时会偏行己路。让我们欢欣快乐,因为慈爱的救主引导我们。

祈祷:我感谢耶稣因我的罪行而死在十字架上,也感谢你接受我全部的优缺点。即使我做出愚蠢的决定,导致我非常沮丧,惶惶不安,谢谢你从来不离开我,不放弃我,或者抛弃我。帮助我相信你会引导我度过这些充满挑战的时刻,因为我自己不能摆脱目前的困境。指教我,指引我到该去的地方,这样我才能荣耀你的名,成为更好的门徒。我奉耶稣的名祈祷,阿门。

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