The Deserted Island


The Deserted Island
Written by Francis Loo                     Translated to Chinese by Evie Xiao

Imagine you are a sailor man on a voyage of discovery in ancient times. Your ship is destroyed by a violent storm. You are the lone survivor. Miraculously, the pieces of the ship debris to which you have been clinging since the ship went down washes ashore onto an uninhabited tropical island.

The lush island is full of fruits, nuts, and berries, an abundance of wildlife, and plenty of fresh water. There are caves to protect you from storms and animals. Physical survival is not a problem.
There is only one hitch. Not only are you the island’s only inhabitant, but no one knows that you are there. You are presumed to have been lost at sea. There is no reason whatsoever to assume that another ship will ever pass your way before you die. You will never see another human being for the rest of your life.
(The above storey is paraphrased from The Search for Meaning by Thomas H. Naylor, William H. Willimon & Magdalena R. Naylor)

From the fictitious grim situation, can you imagine how would you survive emotionally since then? What would you do? Is it possible to have a meaningful life without any human interaction? Would you rather die than live alone?

Not guessing your answers. I realize that this kind of fictitious situation is sometime real. Do we sometimes see certain people or even we ourselves unconsciously live on such a “Deserted Island?”

Christians or non-Christians alike, we go through different seasons in life. To evaluate our spiritual, intellectual, emotional, and physical consequences, we will find the meanings of life are diverse in each season.

We are actually in the lust of this world. Perhaps you may like to put yourself financially in the same position of a multimillionaire, or in the power of the President of the United States or King Solomon in Jerusalem. In Ecclesiastes, the king said:

Everything is meaningless
One day whatsoever we may possess in this world will become meaningless; Wisdom, knowledge academic degrees will be gone and during the span of life “… wisdom is meaningless … For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief.” Our intellect may puff us up, thus it prevents us seeing the true light.

Pleasures are meaningless
King Solomon said, “…I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my work, and this was the reward for all my labor, yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.”

Wisdom and Folly are meaningless
The wise and the fool are the same going to the same end and die and “…will not be long remembered;” and soon “…will be forgotten.”[All] must die!”

Toil is meaningless
King Solomon said, “…I must leave them to the one who come after me. and who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool? Yet he will have control over all the work into which I have poured my effort and skill under the sun.”  This too is meaningless. In today’s context, many court cases of lawsuits relating to family disputes over estate we’ve seen are the common phenomenon.

Riches are meaningless
“…Naked a man comes from his mother’s womb, and as he comes, so he departs. He takes nothing from his labor that he can carry in his hand.” We come from the dust and return to the dust.

Our experience in the meaninglessness in life leads us to spiritually despair, intellectual nihilism, emotional depression, physiological death; our social separation as a result leads us to spiritual detachment, intellectual alienation, and having emotional anxiety. And our craving for more will aggravate our spiritual orthodoxy, intellectual hedonism, emotional narcissism and physiological health fetishism. King Solomon reminded us as following:

“Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, ‘find no pleasure in them’- before the sun and the light and the moon and the stars grow dark, and the clouds return after the rain; when the keepers of the house tremble, and the strong men stoop. When the grinders cease because they are few, and those looking through the windows grow dim; when the doors to the street are closed and the sound of grinding fades; when men rise up at the sound of birds, but all their songs grow faint; when men are afraid of heights and of dangers in the streets; when the almond tree blossoms and the grasshopper drags himself along and desire no longer is stirred. Then man goes to his eternal home and mourners go about the streets.

“Remember him — before the silver cord is severed, or the golden bowl is broken; before the pitcher is shattered at the spring, or the wheel broken at the well, and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it….”

Put simply, we know one day – long or short – we will return to the ground as we are the dust but the spirit will return to God.

“Fear God and keep his commandments, for this are the whole duty of man.

For God will bring every deed to judgment including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.”

Life is a trial through which we gradually learn the lesson of being transformed into a new life – a new being – by the grace of God. If we do not know God who is the creator of our life and this world, there is no hope and life is meaningless for one day all things shall come to the end. But for the believers whom Jesus Christ has redeemed, in the providence of God, the in-dwelling Holy Spirit will groom our spirits and intellects, with emotional balance and physiological homeostasis. Life then becomes meaningful, purposeful and abundance.

Let us pray–

Heavenly Father,

Thank you for hearing our prayers. We are poor in spirit. We are weak. We want to see you more, but we have only limited sight. We would ask for wisdom to know you better. We ask you to pour your love, joy and peace on us. We ask for your kind, gentle and sincere guidance. Dear Lord, please give us eyes to see, ears to listen and sensitive hearts to feel. We want to dwell in the House of God for ever In the name of Jesus Christ we pray.

Amen.

TRUTH MONTHLY [GlobalTM.org]
首頁本期文章荒島
【雙語園地】荒島
作者 盧國禮

荒島
作者:盧國禮     翻譯:蕭凌

如果你穿越回古代,變成一名水手。在風暴中,你的船遇險、同伴們葬身魚腹,唯獨只有你活了下來。好在船雖然毀了,你卻緊緊抱住了甲板的碎片,並且因此得以被海水沖到了一座無人小島上。

這座小島上盛產水果、堅果和野山莓,其上生活著的野生動物種類繁多,而且島上的淡水供應也充足;又有可供棲身的山洞。對你來說,要在這里活下去,難度不大。

唯一的問題是,你不僅是這島上的唯一居民,世上也再沒有人知道你的存在。所有人都以為你已經在海上遇難了,也沒有其他的船會因為任何理由途經此處。在你餘下的一生中,將會與世隔絕。

在這樣的一個殘酷的現實面前,在這樣的一個島上,你如何才能心靈強健地活下去嗎?你會做些什麼?你要怎樣才能找到生命的意義呢?假如沒有任何人際交往,生活是否會毫無意義?你又是否會想要結束自己的生命?

我不準備對你的答案妄自揣測。但是我清楚地知道,類似身處荒島的情形在生活中是切實存在的。事實上,我們不是時常會看到我們週遭的親友甚至是我們自己不自覺地活在這類「荒島」上嗎?

無論是否信仰耶穌基督,我們每個人都要經歷人生的不同階段。當我們從屬靈、智力、情感以及體能的層面上審視我們的生活,我們不難發現在我們人生的不同階段,其意義也是不同的。

我們被世界上的情慾捆綁。你或許想擁有億萬富豪那樣的財力、美國總統或是耶路撒冷的所羅門王那樣的權力。可是,在傳道書中,所羅門王告訴我們說:

凡事都是虛空
終有一天,我們在這個世界所得到的都會變為虛空:智慧、學術知識終將在短暫的壽數中過去「智慧是虛空……因為多有智慧,就多有愁煩;加增知識的,就加增憂傷」。才智使人驕傲,並且遮蔽我們尋求真理之光。

享樂是虛空
所羅門王說:「凡我眼所求的,我沒有留下不給他的;我心所樂的,我沒有禁止不享受的;因我的心為我一切所勞碌的快樂,這就是我從勞碌中所得的分。後來,我察看我手所經營的一切事和我勞碌所成的功,誰知都是虛空,都是捕風,在日光之下毫無益處。」

智愚皆是虛空
無論智慧人,或是愚昧人,都面臨死亡的相同結局,「……永遠無人紀念」;並且「……都被忘記」,都將死亡。

勞碌是虛空
所羅門王又說:「因為我得來的必留給我以後的人。那人是智慧是愚昧,誰能知道?他竟要管理我勞碌所得的,就是我在日光之下用智慧所得的。這也是虛空。」在今天的社會,許多法庭案件都與家庭財產紛爭脫離不了干係,對此我們早已司空見慣。

財富是虛空
「他怎樣從母胎赤身而來,也必照樣赤身而去;他所勞碌得來的,手中分毫不能帶去。」我們出於塵土,也必歸於塵土。

我們在生命中所經歷的這些虛空,使我們的靈性枯竭、意志消沈、情感抑鬱、肉體死亡;世界上無處不在的格格不入,使得我們靈性麻木、思維怪異、情緒焦慮。我們渴望越多,越加重我們在靈性上的律法主義、理智上的享樂主義、情感上的自我陶醉,以及生理上對健康的崇拜。所羅門王提醒我們:

「你趁著年幼,衰敗的日子尚未來到,就是你所說「我毫無喜樂」的那些年日未曾臨近之先,當記念造你的主!不要等到日頭、光明、月亮、星宿變為黑暗,雨後雲彩反回;看守房屋的發顫,有力的屈身,推磨的稀少就止息;從窗戶往外看的都昏暗,街門關閉,推磨的響聲微小,雀鳥一叫,人就起來,歌唱的女子也都衰微。人怕高處,路上有驚慌;杏樹開花,蚱蜢成為重擔;人所願的也都廢掉。因為人歸他永遠的家,弔喪的在街上往來。

「銀鏈折斷,金罐破裂,瓶子在泉旁損壞,水輪在井口破爛;塵土仍歸於地,靈仍歸於賜靈的神。」

簡而言之,我們知道總有一天─或長或短─我們將回到地裡,因為我們本是塵土;而到了那時,我們的靈魂卻將歸向神。

「敬畏神,謹守祂的誡命,這是人所當盡的本分。因為人所做的事,連一切隱藏的事,無論是善是惡,神都必審問。」

生命就像一場試煉,藉著神的恩典,我們從中學到心意更新的功課,成為一個新造的人。如果我們不認識這位創造了我們生命、創造了全宇宙的造物主,生命是無望的,生活是虛空的。這是因為總有一天,一切都將歸於塵土。但對於相信耶穌基督及其救贖大能的信徒來說,在神的護佑之下,藉著聖靈的內住,我們的靈性與智力都得到更新,我們的身心由此得到那超過所求所想的平安。這樣,我們的生命才變得有意義、有目標,變得得勝有餘。

讓我們禱告:

天父,

感謝你垂聽我們的禱告。我們今天承認自己的靈裡貧乏、軟弱,我們想要看見你的大能,但是我們實在是目光短淺。我們祈求那從你而來的智慧,是那仁愛、喜樂、和平的智慧,是那溫良、柔順、真誠的智慧。我們想要更加認識你。求你賜給我們能夠的見你大能的眼目,能夠得聽你真道的耳朵和一顆柔軟受教的心。我們渴望住在神的聖殿中,從今直到永遠。禱告奉主耶穌基督的名求。阿門。

版權所有:溫哥華基督徒短期宣教訓練中心 © 2000 – 2013 Vancouver Chinese Christian Short-Term Mission Training Centre, All rights reserved. Tel: 604-273-0223 Fax: 604-273-0295

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About Francis Loo

I'm a retired landed property professional since 2005 with 57 years working experience, 41 of which related to landed property in Valuation, Property Management, Lease Negotiation etc., in Hong Kong, Toronto and Vancouver. A Guide to Effective Property Management in Hong Kong published in 1991 and translated in 1998 for Chun San University external training courses. Have been contributing biblical articles to Truth Monthly after retirement.
This entry was posted in 生活的藝術 [The Art of Living] and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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