Courage Through Faith and Hope in Jehovah
“HOPE in Jehovah; be courageous and let your heart be strong. Yes, hope in Jehovah.” Thus Jehovah God speaks to his faithful servants upon earth today and that in spite of the fact that we are living in the most perilous time of the history of humankind. What does it mean to be courageous?—Ps. 27:14.a
“Courageous,” according to one dictionary, “implies a high and nobler kind of bravery, especially as resulting from an inborn quality of mind or spirit which faces or endures perils or difficulties without fear and even with enthusiasm.” According to the Hebrew expression used at Psalm 27:14, courageous means to keep an internal strength, to hold together as if tightly bound together and so not crumbling to pieces under pressure, as would dry clay, and not flying to pieces under the impact of tribulation or enemy attacks, as would a piece of china if struck a hard blow.
A sterling example of such courage is being given by the faithful witnesses of Jehovah, publishers of the Kingdom good news, behind the Iron Curtain and in other totalitarian lands. Concerning those in Russia the 1962 Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses, among other things, states: “Fiendish means have been employed to break the integrity of Jehovah’s servants. Publishers are brought before so-called fellow-workers courts, made up of factory or farm workers, managers and party functionaries. They are threatened with the loss of their jobs, allotments, homes, pensions, and so forth, if they do not publicly denounce the organization and withdraw. A brother who courageously defended his stand was recently sent to a forced-labor camp. There are such camps in which whole groups of publishers are kept imprisoned because of their faithful stand for God’s kingdom. They are treated harshly by the authorities, even worse than if they were criminals.”
Not that it does not take courage to be a speaking minister of Jehovah in lands where there is relative freedom. It does. It takes courage to take Jehovah’s unpopular message from house to house, to offer it to passersby on the streets. It takes courage to speak up whenever an opportunity for incidental witnessing presents itself. It takes courage to keep faithful to Jehovah when you are bitterly opposed by members of your own household. And it takes no small amount of courage to keep integrity if you are a youth still attending school and daily have to rub elbows with a crowd of God-defying, mocking, scoffing, sneering teen-agers that likewise flout all rightful human authority, parents, schoolteachers and even the police.
How can you gain this greatly needed, all-important courage? Not by wishful thinking. It comes from a knowledge and understanding of God’s Word and your wholehearted reliance upon it. It is not a book of cowards. When its precepts and examples are properly interpreted and applied it gives the faith and hope in Jehovah that make for courage. Among the many fine examples of courage it contains are those of King David and the One whom he foreshadowed, Jesus Christ. What courage David showed when as a mere youth he took on the taunting giant Goliath! What courage Jesus manifested as he calmly spoke to the armed mob that came to take him on that last night of his earthly ministry!—1 Sam. 17:34-51; Matt. 26:47-56.
You can have like courage today by coming to God’s Word with the right mental attitude, with a consciousness of your spiritual need. But for your personal Bible study to be truly fruitful you must take advantage of the means Jehovah God has provided for your understanding his Word and applying it in our day. Those means consist primarily of five weekly congregational meetings. Do not let any such obstacles as inclement weather interfere with your attending these and gaining the faith-strengthening and hope-inspiring spiritual food to be had at them. Your very association with other courageous Christian ministers will cause your own courage to grow stronger, for if ‘bad associations spoil useful habits,’ certainly it must follow that right associations will strengthen useful habits.—1 Cor. 15:33.
You do want to be a courageous Christian minister, do you not? A courageous minister is a joyful minister. A courageous minister is one that brings honor to Jehovah’s name and shares in its vindication. A courageous minister is one who strengthens his fellow ministers. And a courageous minister is one who brings forth abundantly both the fruitage of the spirit and Kingdom fruitage, thirty-, sixty- and a hundredfold.
During December courageous ministers in English-speaking lands will manifest their faith and hope in Jehovah by bringing the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures to men of goodwill. Happy are all those who share in this blessed work.
a For details see The Watchtower, December 15, 1961.