Quitting a “Best Friend” // 戒掉我“最好的朋友”

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Andrew didn’t feel too connected to God, even after he accepted Christ until one day when quitting his “best friend” – cigarettes – turned his world upside down and God answered his cry with His grace and mercy. 
雖然Andrew接受了耶穌為救主, 但他一直覺得跟神沒有很親密的關係。直到有一天他戒掉他 ”最好的朋友“ - 香煙- 他的世界一百八十度扭轉,而神就用恩典和憐憫回應了他的呼求。

I was born in Hong Kong, and I had a good life. I lived very comfortably. I had a great family. And I achieved decent grades at school. In the midst of all these worldly comforts, faith was never a big part of my life because I didn’t think I needed God. I had some exposure to Christianity during my high school years, but to me, the bible was just a storybook that taught you how to be a good person, and I thought, “I don’t need to be a Christian to do that!” God was the furthest thing from my mind and I thought I could do everything on my own.

I met my wife during my postgraduate studies. She was already a Christian, and while we were dating, she persuaded me to go to bible study at their family friend’s home with her. It was there that my journey with God really began. Eventually we took the Alpha course together at Island ECC, where she had started taking me to Sunday service. All through this time I felt God working in my life to provide me with all the answers to the questions I had. His messages were clear and moving, especially during worship. At Alpha, I heard powerful testimonies and I could see God making incredible changes in people around me. All He needed me to do was to believe in His promises. During one Alpha meeting, my group leader and my wife prayed for me and I accepted Christ in late 2011.

Church and the Alpha course told me that being a Christian is about having a relationship with God. However, I still didn’t feel a strong connection with Him until about 6 months after Alpha when I was going through a difficult period in my life and God prompted me to give up smoking during this time. I never quit before because I always thought I was the one in control. I thought I could do it any time I wanted to. It was not until I stopped that I realised how difficult it is and the extent of my dependence on them. I was a slave to cigarettes and my life revolved around the next cigarette to escape the stress. Now that I no longer smoked, I had to deal with the sources of my stress directly, and it took a toll on me physically, spiritually and emotionally. The unpredictable cravings and feelings of irritability and heightened anxiety disrupted my daily life as my body and mind screamed out for the drug that has been such a pervasive part of my life for over a decade. What I thought was my “best friend” had become an extremely powerful enemy, and I felt my world come crashing down around me. It was at this time, when I was at my weakest, that I cried out to God.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30

By His grace and mercy, He provided the help and support I needed through my loving wife, family and friends, and put me on the path to recovery and healing.  Being in a relationship with God, opening up to him, drawing him near, changed my life. I truly see the hand of God moving, guiding, and protecting me. No longer would I have this self-destructive habit as a crutch. From now on, He is my strength, my stronghold. When I put my faith in God, and raised my burdens to Him, He answered:

“Cast your cares on the LORD
and he will sustain you;
he will never let
the righteous be shaken.”
– Psalm 55:22

AMEN!

我在香港出生,生活過得很好、很自在舒適,並有一個幸福的家。求學時,成績也算不錯,在世俗的閑逸中,信仰從來沒有在我生命裡佔據著重要的位置,因為我覺得不需要神。高中時,對基督教有少許的瞭解,但對我來說,聖經只是一本教人怎樣做好人的故事書,我在想: 『我不需要做基督徒也能做好人!』在我的腦海中,神一直很遙遠,而且我覺得單靠自己的能力己甚麼都能辦到。

當研究生時,我認識了現在的太太。當時她已經是基督徒。我們約會期間,她說服我到她朋友家裡研讀聖經。從那時,我跟神的關係才真正開始。終於,我們一起在 Island ECC 參與啓發課程,那裡也是我們每一個星期天崇拜的地方。整段時間感受到神在我生命裡作工,解答了我對信仰的所有問題。祂對我說的訊息非常明確和感動,特別是在崇拜的時候。

在參與啓發課程期間,我親身聽見很多有力的見證,並親自看見神在我身邊的群體中,作出難以置信的改變。在某一個啓發課程集會裡,組長與太太為我代禱,然後我在2011年尾接受了耶穌,祂只需要我相信祂的諾言。

教會和啓發課程讓我瞭解到作為基督徒,其實最重要是跟我們的創造者有親密的關係。但是,我一直沒有感受到與神的親密。直到啓發課程完成的六個月後,我經歷了一段非常困難的日子,神指使我放棄抽煙。我從來都沒有嘗試戒煙,因為我覺得我能掌控自己抽煙與否。我以為我想放棄就能隨時放棄。當我決定戒煙時,我才明白到戒煙是十分困難,原來自己是多麼依賴香煙。我已成為了香煙的奴隸,身體依賴著下一枝香煙來逃避壓力。當我戒除香煙時,反而需要正面處理壓力的來源,當下才瞭解香煙在我身心和情緒上帶來的傷害。當我身心呼喊着這「陪伴」了我十多年的香煙時,那不可抗拒的煙癮、情緒急躁的感覺、加強的焦慮,擾亂了我的日常生活。我一直把它當成「好朋友」的香煙,突然間變成了我最大的敵人!我的世界崩潰了…

到這時候,就在我最軟弱之時,我向神大聲呼喊。

『凡勞苦擔重擔的人可以到我這裡來,我就使你們得安息。我心裡柔和謙卑,你們當負我的軛,學我的樣式;這樣,你們心裡就必得享安息。因為我的軛是容易的,我的擔子是輕省的。』-馬太福音11:28-30

在神的恩典憐憫下,祂安排我太太、家人和朋友給我所需的支持和幫助,協助我走上身心靈醫治的道路。我願意和神建立一段認真的關係、慢慢坦誠地打開我的心、花時間與祂親近,作出這個改變生命的決定。我親眼看到神的作工、祂帶領着我、保護着我。我現在不再用抽煙來迴避問題,反而能夠脫離這自我毀壞的壞習慣,靠着神勇敢面對生命的難題。從今以後,祂是我的力量、我的高臺。當我將信心放在主裡,把心裡的重擔交托給祂,祂的回應是:

『你要把你的重擔卸給耶和華,
他必撫養你;
他永不叫義人動搖。』
- 詩篇55:22

阿們!

Image credit: flickr.com/matthijs

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