鑚牛角尖: this is a Chinese proverb I learned in high school. Its literal meaning is 鑚 (to drill) 牛 (cow) 角 (horn) 尖 (point).
It means to take 鑚牛角 pains; to study an insignificant [insoluble] problem; to get (oneself) into a dead end; to get into a blind alley.
I remember this proverb during the period of my deep depression. It was literally like drilling myself into the edge of the bull’s horn – and turning deeper and deeper inside and getting nowhere out.
While it is true that a cheerful heart is good medicine, a sad depressed heart is a reality in life. I experienced how hard it is to tell myself to be happy; not to worry; to think good thoughts – whatever noble, pleasant, worthy of praise etc. And it did not work. I was sad and there seemed no way out.
I remember Rev. Stephen Kwan once preached about depression and it was found to be the no. 1 killer (not cancer). Depression leads to suicide. I never thought to kill myself in the darkest pit of depression. I wished for Jesus to return sooner so my depression would end.
I recall Rev. Stephen Tong once preached on sufferings. Two truths comforted me: 1) Suffering shall pass. 患难会过去。2) Suffering is universal. It is not only me.
Rev. Johann Lai impressed on me that in suffering, rather than ask ‘why’, ask ‘how’: Lord, how do I go through this suffering? What lessons do you want me to learn? Show me how – what to do? I remember Jesus said: In the world, you will have troubles. But take heart, I have overcome the world. So Jesus, show me how to overcome troubles.
I also remember Rev. Lai shared a personal story. He said when he was a pastor in Manila, his daughter was just a little girl. One hot summer, his girl came running, “Papa, it is very hot!” He told her: Papa knows. Yes, papa knows it is very uncomfortable.
Truly, it is a comfort to know that my heavenly Father knows. He knows everything. He made me; he knows exactly how I feel when I am sad. He knows what I am going through. So when I am sad and depressed and beyond words, how to pray or what to say to him, it comforts me to know that he knows. Somehow that is enough … to know that He is with me no matter and He gets me through… He gets me out of the tip of the bull’s horn – I don’t need to 转牛角尖.
Praise the Lord!