Rejoice in the Hope
JOE was seriously ill with terminal cancer. His wife, Kirsten, and a few friends were at his bedside talking. Kirsten looked over at her husband and noticed tears running down his cheeks. At first, she thought that Joe was in pain. Perhaps he was, but in this instance, he revealed to his wife that pain was not the cause of his tears.
“At this difficult time,” says Kirsten, “Joe was surrounded by close friends who had come to be with him. Also, he had his precious hope that he was now more confident of realizing than at any other time in his life, and he knew that no one could take it away from him. He confided that his tears were, in fact, tears of joy. Later that night, Joe died.”
What was the hope that sustained Joe as his disease took its course? It was Jehovah God’s promise of everlasting life with perfect health on a paradise earth. (Psalm 37:10, 11, 29) Says Revelation 21:3, 4: “The tent of God is with mankind . . . He will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things [including today’s many problems] have passed away.”
Hope Even for the Dead
For Joe the fulfillment of his hope will mean a return from the grave. Indeed, he took comfort in Jesus’ promise that “all those in the memorial tombs”—the dead who are preserved in God’s memory—will return from the sleep of death. (John 5:28, 29) Are you sad because you have lost a family member or a friend in death? If so, the resurrection hope can buoy you up too. Granted, this hope does not eliminate the deep loss we feel when a loved one dies. Jesus himself “gave way to tears” when his friend Lazarus passed away. But our hope does ease our pain.—John 11:14, 34, 35; 1 Thessalonians 4:13.
“When Joe lost his battle with cancer,” says Kirsten, “I felt that I could never again be really happy. Even now, a few years later, I realize that my life in this system will never be the same. Joe left a void that cannot be filled. Yet, I can honestly say that I again have peace of mind and contentment.”
Kirsten’s comments remind us that in the present system, we cannot expect to bubble over with joy every waking moment. Life has its ups and downs. And there are times when we should be sad, when gaiety is entirely inappropriate. (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4; 7:2-4) Also, some of us may battle depression, which can have a variety of causes. Nevertheless, the Bible’s promises are a source of great comfort, and the unsurpassed wisdom we find in the Bible can help us to avoid many of the pitfalls that make for unhappiness. “As for the one listening to me,” God says, “he will reside in security and be undisturbed from dread of calamity.”—Proverbs 1:33.
Yes, Jehovah has our very best interests at heart. He wants us to be happy—not superficially, but deep inside and, not just for a few short years, but forever! Hence, his Son made this truly timeless statement: “Happy are those conscious of their spiritual need.” (Matthew 5:3) Wise we are if we take his words to heart.
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Nine Ingredients for Happiness
1. Developing a spiritual outlook on life.—Matthew 5:3.
2. Being content and avoiding “the love of money.”—1 Timothy 6:6-10.
4. Being generous and working for the happiness of others.—Acts 20:35.
5. Being thankful and counting your blessings.—Colossians 3:15.
6. Having a forgiving spirit.—Matthew 6:14.
7. Choosing your associates wisely.—Proverbs 13:20.
8. Taking care of your body and shunning bad habits.—2 Corinthians 7:1.
9. ‘Rejoicing in the hope’ set out for you in the Bible.—Romans 12:12.
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The Bible-based hope of life in a new world is a source of great comfort