A God Who Stands by Us
ABOVE all persons, God the Creator and Source of life knows the value of life. It was a loving-kindness on his part to create others so that they could enjoy life also. His desire is for us to live, not just a few short years, but forever. To this end he stands by all mankind, but especially those who sincerely look to him and follow his Word. “I am loyal,” says Jehovah, and the faithful worshipers who have observed his dealings with mankind declare: “You alone are loyal.”—Jer. 3:12; Rev. 15:4.
Of the intensity of God’s loyalty toward humankind, the apostle Paul writes: “For hardly will anyone die for a righteous man; indeed, for the good man, perhaps, someone even dares to die. But God recommends his own love to us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom. 5:7, 8) Accordingly, through the worst of circumstances, he will stand by those who respond to his love. He comfortingly assures them: “I will by no means leave you nor by any means forsake you.”—Heb. 13:5; Ps. 94:14.
The apostle Paul was one who appreciated God’s loyalty, and he said to an Athenian audience: “In fact, [God] is not far off from each one of us.” (Acts 17:27) Surely, Paul himself was greatly loved by God because he not only expressed faith in God’s arrangement for life, but also did all he could to help others to get life. In doing so Paul underwent trials far beyond what most persons have faced. To the congregation at Corinth he recounted these trials, including imprisonments, beatings, stoning, shipwreck, hunger, cold and constant danger from enemies. But he said: “Out of them all the Lord delivered me.”—2 Tim. 3:11; 4:16, 17; 2 Cor. 11:23-27.
We must keep in mind that, while we want to live as long as possible, whether we live or die during this present system of things is really not the main issue. But keeping integrity to God is the important thing, for he requires loyalty in those who have come to know his loyalty. Such ones can be absolutely confident that Jehovah and his loyal Son Jesus Christ will stand by them in sickness, family problems, discouragement, pressures and tensions, even the severest persecutions.
Jehovah stood by faithful Job in his terrible sickness. Of him the Christian writer James says: “You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome Jehovah gave, that Jehovah is very tender in affection and merciful.” (Jas. 5:11) The prophet Jeremiah’s enemies sought a way to kill him but, as Jeremiah reported, “Jehovah was with me like a terrible mighty one.” (Jer. 20:11; 1:8) Elijah was hunted by wicked King Ahab and his wife Jezebel, but God provided Elijah ample food supplies, furnished by ravens, and by a hospitable woman whom Jehovah helped.—1 Ki. 17:2-16.
Likewise in modern times, many are the accounts of God’s standing loyally by the person who serves him under conditions of hardship, opposition and persecution. It has proved true, as the psalmist declared: “Although he may fall, he will not be hurled down, for Jehovah is supporting his hand. A young man I used to be, I have also grown old, and yet I have not seen anyone righteous left entirely, nor his offspring looking for bread.” (Ps. 37:24, 25) Of himself and his companions, the apostle wrote: “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) True, some have died (as did Paul himself) under persecution and hardship, but they were upheld in integrity to God, with a resurrection assured.—Matt. 10:28.
Do you appreciate the loyalty of Jehovah God and his Son, in standing by us, to see that we get life? Then, how is your own loyalty? If a husband, do you stand loyally by your wife at all times, speaking well of her, standing by her to help and comfort her in her times of depression? (Col. 3:19) If a wife, do you likewise stand by your husband at all times, speaking well of him, honoring him, respecting his headship, not revealing intimate family matters to others?—Prov. 31:26; Col. 3:18.
Family members, do you show love to all in your family, including the sick or older ones, who could be looked upon as a burden? For example, it sometimes happens that an older member may suffer from senility. In this state he or she may even begin to accuse others of stealing possessions, may turn against the loved one who is nearest, and may be generally unmanageable. This constitutes a test on the family’s loyalty. Will they forget the love the person, perhaps a father or mother, has expressed throughout past years? Though such a situation is trialsome, one medical work says of persons suffering from this malady: “The family should be made to understand that the patient’s behavior is not directed consciously at angering them.” Would you keep this in mind and loyally stand by the sick person? To one of Jehovah’s witnesses whose husband suffered from presenile dementia, a neurologist wrote: “May I say that you are an extraordinarily fine person. The sacrifice that you are making in taking care of your husband who is a totally helpless individual is unusual. Many people would have had their irresponsible relative in an institution a long time ago.”
If you are a Christian, do you stand by your Christian brothers? What do you do when one is sick? or in need of material assistance? or needs encouragement? And are you standing by your brothers in association, particularly at meetings where God’s Word is discussed? Are you “with one soul striving side by side for the faith of the good news”? (Phil. 1:27; Matt. 25:34-36; 1 Thess. 5:14) Do you extend love and hospitality to your neighbors who are not of your religion? (Luke 10:30-37) If you show this loyalty and love to others, you may express the conviction, as did Paul, that “neither death nor life nor angels nor governments . . . nor powers . . . nor any other creation will be able to separate us from God’s love that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”—Rom. 8:38, 39.