“After 25 years of marriage, my husband and I got divorced. My children left the truth. I developed several serious health problems. Then I became depressed. I felt that my whole world had fallen in on me and that I couldn’t cope with anything anymore. I stopped going to the meetings, and I became inactive.”—June.
ANXIETY touches everyone—even God’s people. “Anxieties overwhelmed me,” wrote the psalmist. (Psalm 94:19) And Jesus said that during the time of the end, “anxieties of life” could make it especially challenging to serve Jehovah. (Luke 21:34) What about you? Do you feel overwhelmed by financial troubles, family problems, or health concerns? How can Jehovah help you to cope?
“Power Beyond What Is Normal”
We cannot deal with anxiety on our own. “We are hard-pressed in every way,” the apostle Paul wrote. “We are perplexed . . . ; we are knocked down.” Yet, he also said that we are “not cramped beyond movement,” “not absolutely with no way out,” and “not destroyed.” What helps us to endure? “Power beyond what is normal”—power that comes from our almighty God, Jehovah.—2 Corinthians 4:7-9.
Reflect on how you received “power beyond what is normal” in the past. Do you remember how an encouraging talk deepened your appreciation for Jehovah’s loyal love? Did your faith in Jehovah’s promises grow stronger when you taught others about the hope of Paradise? When we attend Christian meetings and share our faith with others, we receive strength to endure the anxieties of life and we gain peace of mind so that we can serve Jehovah with joy.
“Taste and See That Jehovah Is Good”
Realistically, you may feel pulled in many directions at once. For example, Jehovah asks us to seek first the Kingdom and to maintain a routine of spiritual activity. (Matthew 6:33; Luke 13:24) Yet, what if opposition, poor health, or family problems have drained you physically? Or what if your secular work claims the time and energy you would otherwise spend with the congregation? Faced with so many demands—and too little time and energy to handle them—you may feel overwhelmed. Perhaps you have even wondered whether Jehovah expects too much from you.
Jehovah is understanding. He never expects more from us than we can give. And he recognizes that it takes time for us to recover from physical and emotional stress.—Psalm 103:13, 14.
Consider, for example, how Jehovah cared for the prophet Elijah. When Elijah became so discouraged and fearful that he ran away to the wilderness, did Jehovah reprimand the prophet and order him back to his assignment? No. Jehovah twice sent an angel to wake Elijah up gently and to give him food to eat. Even so, 40 days later, Elijah was still anxious and fearful. What else did Jehovah do to help him? First, Jehovah demonstrated that he could protect him. Second, Jehovah comforted Elijah with “a calm, low voice.” Finally, Jehovah revealed that there were thousands of others who were faithfully worshipping God. Soon, Elijah was again active as a zealous prophet. (1 Kings 19:1-19) The lesson? When Elijah was overcome by anxiety, Jehovah treated him with patience and compassion. Jehovah has not changed. He cares for us in much the same way.
When you think about what you can give to Jehovah, be realistic. Do not compare what you can do today with what you used to do. To illustrate: A runner who stops training for several months or years cannot resume his former routine right away. Rather, he begins by setting small goals that build strength and endurance. Christians are like runners. They train with a clear goal in mind. (1 Corinthians 9:24-27) Why not pursue one spiritual goal that seems most attainable for you right now? For example, you might set the goal of attending a congregation meeting. Ask Jehovah to help you to reach your goal. As you regain spiritual strength, you will “taste and see that Jehovah is good.” (Psalm 34:8) Remember that anything you do to demonstrate your love for Jehovah—no matter how small it may seem—is precious to him.—Luke 21:1-4.
“The Boost I Had Been Waiting For”
How did Jehovah empower June to return to him? She tells us: “I kept praying to Jehovah, asking him to help me. Then my daughter-in-law told me about an assembly in my town. I decided to attend one day of the assembly. What a wonderful feeling it was to be back with Jehovah’s people! That assembly was the boost I had been waiting for. Now I am joyfully serving Jehovah again. Life has so much more meaning for me. More than ever, I know that I cannot isolate myself or go it alone. I am thankful that there was still time for me to come back.”