Trust in Jehovah, “the God of All Comfort”
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of tender mercies and the God of all comfort.”—2 COR. 1:3.
FROM our birth on, we feel the need for comfort. A baby uses its vocal cords to let us know when it needs comfort. Perhaps it wants to be held or it is hungry. Even when we are older, we often feel the need to be comforted. Especially is this the case when we are experiencing difficult situations.
2 Family members and friends can often give us a degree of comfort. At times, however, conditions that cause us distress are beyond human remedies. Only God can give us comfort regardless of how distressing our situation may be. His Word assures us: “Jehovah is near to all those calling upon him, . . . and their cry for help he will hear.” (Ps. 145:18, 19) Yes, “the eyes of Jehovah are toward the righteous ones, and his ears are toward their cry for help.” (Ps. 34:15) But if we are to receive God’s support and comfort, we must place our trust in him. The psalmist David made that clear when he sang: “Jehovah will become a secure height for anyone crushed, a secure height in times of distress. And those knowing your name will trust in you, for you will certainly not leave those looking for you, O Jehovah.”—Ps. 9:9, 10.
3 Jehovah’s worshippers are precious to him. Jesus made this clear when he said: “Five sparrows sell for two coins of small value, do they not? Yet not one of them goes forgotten before God. But even the hairs of your heads are all numbered. Have no fear; you are worth more than many sparrows.” (Luke 12:6, 7) Through the prophet Jeremiah, Jehovah told His ancient people: “With a love to time indefinite I have loved you. That is why I have drawn you with loving-kindness.”—Jer. 31:3.
4 Trusting in Jehovah and in the fulfillment of his promises can bring us comfort in times of distress. We should therefore have the same trust in God as that expressed by Joshua, who declared: “Not one word out of all the good words that Jehovah your God has spoken to you has failed. They have all come true for you. Not one word of them has failed.” (Josh. 23:14) Moreover, we can be certain that even if we are temporarily crushed by trying situations, “God is faithful” and will never forsake his loyal servants.—Read 1 Corinthians 10:13.
5 The apostle Paul refers to Jehovah as “the God of all comfort.” “To comfort” means to soothe someone who is in distress or who is sorrowing. This is done by easing his misery or grief and bringing him consolation. Jehovah certainly does this. (Read 2 Corinthians 1:3, 4.) Our heavenly Father is not limited by anything or anyone and therefore has at his disposal whatever means are needed to provide comfort for those who love him. In turn, we are able to comfort fellow believers “in any sort of tribulation.” We can do so “through the comfort with which we ourselves are being comforted by God.” How well this expresses Jehovah’s unmatched ability to comfort despairing ones!
Coping With the Causes of Distress
6 We need comfort in many areas of life. One of the greatest causes of grief is the loss of a loved one in death, especially a beloved marriage mate or a child. Comfort may also be needed because a person is a victim of discrimination or prejudice. Poor health, advanced age, poverty, marital problems, or distressing world conditions can give rise to a personal need for comfort.
7 In times of distress, we may need comfort that soothes our heart, our mind, our emotions, and both our physical and spiritual health. For example, consider the heart. God’s Word acknowledges that our heart can be “broken and crushed.” (Ps. 51:17) Jehovah is certainly able to deal with this situation, for “he is healing the brokenhearted ones, and is binding up their painful spots.” (Ps. 147:3) Even in severe situations, God can bring relief to a stricken heart if we pray to him in full faith and observe his commandments.—Read 1 John 3:19-22; 5:14, 15.
8 Our mind often needs comfort because various trials can cause great mental distress. In our own strength, we likely cannot cope with these tests of faith. However, the psalmist sang: “When my disquieting thoughts became many inside of me, your own consolations began to fondle my soul.” (Ps. 94:19) Moreover, Paul wrote: “Do not be anxious over anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication along with thanksgiving let your petitions be made known to God; and the peace of God that excels all thought will guard your hearts and your mental powers by means of Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:6, 7) Reading and meditating on the Scriptures can be of great help in coping with mental distress.—2 Tim. 3:15-17.
9 At times, we may become so discouraged that we can be in danger of succumbing to the effects of negative emotions. Perhaps we feel unable to care for a certain Scriptural responsibility or privilege of service. Here, too, Jehovah can comfort and help us. To illustrate: When Joshua was commissioned to lead the Israelites against powerful enemy nations, Moses told the people: “Be courageous and strong. Do not be afraid or suffer a shock before them, because Jehovah your God is the one marching with you. He will neither desert you nor leave you entirely.” (Deut. 31:6) With Jehovah’s backing, Joshua was able to lead God’s people into the Promised Land and to victory over all their enemies. Earlier at the Red Sea, Moses had experienced similar divine support.—Ex. 14:13, 14, 29-31.
10 Distressing events can have a negative effect on our physical health. Of course, eating properly, getting sufficient rest and exercise, and keeping clean can have a good effect on us. A spiritually healthy Bible-based outlook may well affect our body for the good. Thus, it is helpful when going through some anguish that we bear in mind Paul’s experience and encouraging words: “We are pressed in every way, but not cramped beyond movement; we are perplexed, but not absolutely with no way out; we are persecuted, but not left in the lurch; we are thrown down, but not destroyed.”—2 Cor. 4:8, 9.
11 Some trials can have a detrimental effect on our spiritual health. Here, too, Jehovah can come to our rescue. His Word assures us: “Jehovah is giving support to all who are falling, and is raising up all who are bowed down.” (Ps. 145:14) For help to counteract spiritual illness, we should seek the assistance of Christian elders. (Jas. 5:14, 15) And constantly keeping in mind the Scriptural hope of everlasting life can help to sustain us during tests of our faith.—John 17:3.
Examples of God-Given Comfort
12 An inspired psalmist declared: “Remember the word to your servant, for which you [Jehovah] have made me wait. This is my comfort in my affliction, for your own saying has preserved me alive.” (Ps. 119:49, 50) Today, we have Jehovah’s written Word, which contains many examples of God-given comfort. For instance, Abraham may have been quite distressed when he learned that Jehovah was going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. That faithful patriarch asked God: “Will you really sweep away the righteous with the wicked?” Jehovah comforted Abraham by assuring him that if only 50 righteous people could be found, He would not destroy Sodom. Five more times, however, Abraham asked Jehovah: What if there are only 45 righteous people? 40? 30? 20? 10? Each time, Jehovah very patiently and kindly assured Abraham that Sodom would be spared. Although there were not even ten righteous people in the area, Jehovah did preserve Lot and his daughters.—Gen. 18:22-32; 19:15, 16, 26.
13 Elkanah’s wife Hannah greatly desired to have a child. But she was barren, and this distressed her. She prayed to Jehovah about the matter, and High Priest Eli said to her: “May the God of Israel grant your petition.” This comforted Hannah, “and her face became self-concerned no more.” (1 Sam. 1:8, 17, 18) Hannah trusted in Jehovah, confidently leaving things in his hands. Although she did not know what the outcome would be, Hannah experienced inner peace. In time, Jehovah answered her prayer. She became pregnant and brought a son to birth, naming him Samuel.—1 Sam. 1:20.
14 King David of ancient Israel is another example of an individual comforted by God. Inasmuch as Jehovah “sees what the heart is,” when he selected David to be a future king of Israel, he knew that David was sincere and devoted to true worship. (1 Sam. 16:7; 2 Sam. 5:10) Later, however, David committed adultery with Bath-sheba and tried to cover up the sin by having her husband killed. When David came to realize the enormity of his sin, he prayed to Jehovah: “According to the abundance of your mercies wipe out my transgressions. Thoroughly wash me from my error, and cleanse me even from my sin. For my transgressions I myself know, and my sin is in front of me constantly.” (Ps. 51:1-3) David was truly repentant, and Jehovah forgave him. However, David had to face the consequences of his wrongdoing. (2 Sam. 12:9-12) Nevertheless, Jehovah’s mercy was a source of comfort to his humble servant.
15 When on earth, Jesus faced many trying circumstances. God permitted these tests of faith, and Jesus maintained his integrity as a perfect man who always trusted in Jehovah and upheld His sovereignty. When about to be betrayed and executed, Jesus prayed to Jehovah: “Let, not my will, but yours take place.” An angel then appeared to Jesus and strengthened him. (Luke 22:42, 43) God gave Jesus the comfort, strength, and support he needed at that time.
16 Even if we ourselves should face death because of our firm stand as Christians, Jehovah can and will help us to maintain our integrity to him. Furthermore, we are comforted by the hope of the resurrection. And how we look forward to the day when the last enemy, death, “is to be brought to nothing”! (1 Cor. 15:26) God’s loyal servants who have died, as well as others, are in Jehovah’s infallible memory and will be resurrected. (John 5:28, 29; Acts 24:15) Confidence in Jehovah’s resurrection promise brings us comfort and a sure hope during times of persecution.
17 How comforting it is to know that our loved ones now asleep in mankind’s common grave have the prospect of resuming life in a wonderful new world free of all the present-day causes of distress! And what a privilege it will be for the “great crowd” of Jehovah’s servants who survive the end of this wicked system of things to welcome and instruct those resurrected to life on earth!—Rev. 7:9, 10.
Underneath Are God’s Eternal Arms
18 In the words of a powerful and heartwarming song, Moses assured the people of Israel: “A hiding place is the God of ancient time, and underneath are the indefinitely lasting arms.” (Deut. 33:27) The prophet Samuel later told the Israelites: “Do not turn aside from following Jehovah, and you must serve Jehovah with all your heart. . . . Jehovah will not desert his people for the sake of his great name.” (1 Sam. 12:20-22) As long as we cling to Jehovah in true worship, he will never forsake us. He will always give us the support we need.
19 God is unfailingly giving his people needed help and comfort in these critical last days. For over a century, thousands of our fellow believers throughout the world have been persecuted and imprisoned just because they served Jehovah. Their experiences prove that in times of trial, Jehovah does indeed comfort his servants. For example, one of our brothers in the former Soviet Union was sentenced to 23 years in prison because of his faith. Even so, a way was found to get spiritual food to him so that he could be strengthened and comforted. He stated: “During all those years, I learned to trust in Jehovah and received strength from him.”—Read 1 Peter 5:6, 7.
20 Regardless of what we may yet face, we will do well to bear in mind the psalmist’s comforting words: “Jehovah will not forsake his people.” (Ps. 94:14) Although we personally need to be comforted, we also have the grand privilege of bringing comfort to others. As we shall see in the next article, we can have a share in comforting mourning ones in this troubled world.
How Would You Answer?
• What are some things that can cause us distress?
• How does Jehovah comfort his servants?
• If we are faced with death, what can comfort us?
1. Regardless of age, what need do humans have?
2. What assurance does Jehovah give that he will comfort those who trust in him?
3. How did Jesus illustrate Jehovah’s love for His people?
4. Why can we trust in Jehovah’s promises?
5. How is it possible for us to comfort others?
6. Give examples of things that can cause distress.
7. (a) In grievous situations, what kind of comfort is needed? (b) What can Jehovah do to heal a “broken and crushed” heart?
8. When we are distressed mentally, how can Jehovah help us?
9. How can we cope with emotional distress?
10. If our physical health is affected by distress, what help can we receive?
11. How can spiritual illness be counteracted?
12. Describe Jehovah’s comforting attitude toward Abraham.
13. How did Hannah show that she trusted in Jehovah?
14. Why did David need comfort, and to whom did he turn?
15. What help did Jehovah give Jesus just before his death?
16. What can God do about distress we may experience if we face death as integrity keepers?
17. How can Jehovah comfort us when a loved one dies?
18, 19. How have God’s servants been comforted when being persecuted?
20. Why can we be sure that Jehovah will not abandon us?
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HOW TO COPE WITH THINGS THAT COULD AFFECT OUR . . .
▪ physical health 2 Cor. 4:8, 9