Drinking from God’s Sweetest Streams in the Valleys of Life // 在生命的低谷中暢飲神甜美的溪流
Vincent prayed that God would never have to put him through hardship in order to have faith. Soon after, the work dispute he got caught up in revealed to him some of God’s sweetest acts of mercy and grace in the tough time.
About a year ago, I gave my life to Christ after having found a great church family in Hong Kong while still working in Thailand. I decided to fly from Thailand, where I live, to Hong Kong every week in order to attend the Alpha course at Island ECC. It was a hard time growing my faith as a new Christian! It seemed like the more I learned, the more questions I had. Doubt started to creep in. How could I know if this was real？
My answer came in the form of one word: Prayer.
There were a few times that people prayed for me, where I literally felt something happening inside of me. I later realized that it was the Holy Spirit filling me up.
Throughout Alpha, I prayed to God to answer my doubts. A few times, I asked for Him to show me a sign. One time, I prayed for him to take away a headache, and not only did it go away almost immediately, but my head started feeling amazing and stayed that way for the next 5 minutes while I continued to pray.
Another time — and this is really embarrassing — I was on the plane sitting next to a cute girl. We had exchanged pleasantries at the beginning of the flight, but didn’t talk much after that. As the plane started to descend, I prayed to God, “Hey Lord — you know how much I’ve been struggling with this whole Jesus thing. If you really want me to believe in Jesus, could you give me a sign in the form of this girl giving me her number?” We continued the rest of the journey in silence. The plane landed, the seatbelt sign turned off, people started getting up and just as I was thinking, “Oh well, it was a long shot anyway” — she turns around and hands me her card with her cell phone number written on the back. Know this: I fly twice a week and rack up more miles per year than almost anybody else I know — and this has not happened before or since.
Now, you could say that these were all coincidences, and I’ll admit that they weren’t exactly earth-shattering. But they really happened, and they were direct answers to my prayers.
Fast-forward to the end of Alpha. I was already growing in my faith, and convinced that God was real, but I remembered this quote from the Good News Bible app on my iPhone: “Replenish yourself: It’s in the ‘valleys’ of your life that you can drink from God’s sweetest streams. It’s during this period when He restores your soul.” I didn’t really want to endure through any valleys in my life so I prayed, “Dear Lord, Please don’t make me go through a really difficult valley in my life just to believe in You. I already believe! There’s no need for that.”
Sure enough, a couple of weeks after Alpha ended, I went though one of the most difficult periods of my life.
There was a big labor dispute at my workplace that dragged on for weeks, and it was all coming to a head about a week before Christmas. I would be leading the negotiation that afternoon, and the other side had thus far been stubborn and hostile, even threatening my safety at one point. This was the biggest challenge that I had ever faced in my professional life, and I was trying to trust God that everything would be OK.
So I asked my Alpha group, which had continued to stay in touch via WhatsApp, to pray for the Lord to soften the hearts of the other side’s representatives and bless the crazy guy who threatened me; for any demons to be driven from his body in Jesus’ name; and finally, for God to grant me strength to face what was coming and the wisdom to make the right decisions.
The outpouring of feedback and support that I received from my Alpha group was incredible. There were comforting Bible verses; negotiation and mediation tactics; and even downloads from God. Most of all, they prayed for me — thoroughly, specifically, and persistently. It was like I had an army of prayer warriors covering me and interceding for me as I went into battle. God was putting me through a time of testing — the Lord was shaping, molding and preparing me to be the man He created and destined me to be.
The result? At the last minute, the negotiations came to a positive conclusion. Both sides were very happy, and nobody was hurt. What’s more, I was eerily calm throughout the entire meeting. Throughout the discussions, I kept praying — I closed my eyes and I saw the word “cloak,” and I remembered a sister’s advice to cloak myself in love, honor, humility and compassion. A few times the other side inexplicably softened their stance and/or were inexplicably happy to agree to our requests. It was really weird, but I can readily see God’s hand in the situation. For the first time, I got to experience what it was like to drink from God’s sweetest streams in the valleys of life. And I am so thankful that I had my brothers and sisters, who kept pointing me towards Christ.
Today, I’m just continuing my walk with Jesus and continuing to grow in my faith. Thanks for giving me the chance to share my story with you.
大概一年之前，當時還在泰國工作的我在香港找到一個很棒的教會後，我把我的生命奉獻給了神。爲了可以到Island ECC上Alpha啓發課程，我決定每一個禮拜都從泰國飛回香港。作爲一個初信的基督徒, 慢慢增強我的信仰是一個蠻困難的過程。總覺得當我越學得多，我就有越多的問號。漸漸開始產生懷疑，我怎麽才能知道這是真的？
另外一次 — 這真的很尷尬 — 在飛機上我坐在一個很可愛的女孩子旁邊。航程剛開始時，我們說了幾句打趣的話，但之後我們就沒有聊很多了。當飛機開始降落時，我向神祈禱說:「神呀 — 你知道我在這個信仰中有許多掙扎。如果你真的想我相信耶穌，你可以讓這個女孩把她的電話號碼給我，當作是給我一個提示嗎？」我們的旅程在沉默中繼續。飛機降落了，安全帶的燈號熄滅了，人們開始站起來，當我正在想:「算啦，就當是瞎問，一試無妨。」，她就轉身把她的名片遞給我，而她的手機號碼就寫在卡片的背後。我每個星期飛兩次，累積的飛行哩數比我認識的任何人都多 — 同樣的事情從來和以後都沒有發生過。
把時間向前推到完成啓發課程. 我信仰已經成長了，而且我相信神是真的，我還記得在我手機的一個程式中的一段引文:「充滿自己: 在你的生命的低谷你可以在神的甜美溪流中暢飲。在這段時間內祂會把你的靈魂復原。」我真的不想經歷人生中的低谷，所以我祈禱說:「親愛的主，請不要爲了讓我相信你，就要我走過人生中的低谷。我已經相信了！我不需要那些。」
真的很難以置信，我從啓發課程組員那邊收到連綿不斷的回應和支持。當中有安慰的聖經金句、談判和冥想的策略，有些信息甚至是由神所賜的。最重要的，他們都為我祈禱 — 仔細地、特別地、不間斷地。就好像我有一隊祈禱戰士在我進入戰場時為我掩護和求情。神是在讓我經歷試煉中 — 主在塑造、鑄造、準備我，好讓我成爲祂所創造和預定的我。
結果呢？在最後一分鐘，談判達到一個正面的結論。雙方都非常愉快，沒有人受傷害。再者，在整個會議中我異常地冷靜。在討論過程中，我不停地祈禱 — 當我閉上眼睛我看到“披風”這個字，然後我記起一個姊妹的建議，我們要披上愛、尊敬、謙卑和憐憫的披風。有好幾次對方難以理解地放下他們的原有的立場，或接納我們的要求。真的很奇怪，但我欣然地看到神在這次伸出援手。這是我第一次經歷什麽是在人生低谷暢飲神甜美的溪流。我非常感恩我擁有我的兄弟姊妹，他們一直把我指引到基督那裏。
Image credit: flickr.com/jjjohn