Can You Wait upon Jehovah?
“BUT as for me, it is for Jehovah that I shall keep on the lookout. I will show a waiting attitude for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me.” So spoke the prophet Micah.—Mic. 7:7.
Do you have strong hope in God as he did? Can you wait upon Jehovah? When hoping for something desirable that is not immediately within reach, do you show childlike impatience or do you manifest calm trust in Jehovah? When faced with adversity, do you ‘show a waiting attitude for the God of your salvation’?
Waiting is not always easy. Especially is this true when one has hoped for something a long time. As the inspired proverb says, “Expectation postponed is making the heart sick.” (Prov. 13:12) Nevertheless, time moves along at a constant pace, and blessings do come to us when we do all that we can to ensure a favorable result and take into consideration Jehovah’s will for us in making plans. Sometimes, too, we receive unexpected blessings, from a direction wholly unanticipated, and for these too we are thankful to Jehovah.
At times we come up against situations that are beyond our human capacity to resolve. What then? Wait upon Jehovah—yes, “Hope in Jehovah”! Not by sitting idly by, but by earnestly praying to Jehovah to direct matters and then leaving the outcome confidently in his hands.—Ps. 27:14; Prov. 20:22.
It is vital to recognize that, while Jehovah knows we need certain things, he does not always open the way for us to have all things hoped for right away. For one thing, we may not be ready for the responsibility that comes with the gift or privilege wanted. Thus the need for patience.
Sometimes, too, we may think we need a particular thing, but it may not really be needed; it may actually be harmful for us. In this event Jehovah does not open the way for us to have it. Of course, by persistent effort we may eventually attain a wrongful or unwise desire, but we will not find true happiness or satisfaction in this way. Rather, we bring upon ourselves unnecessary hardship and anxiety because of not perceiving Jehovah’s will for us and waiting upon him.
Are you young? Then you may be like most young folks in wanting to grow up quickly in order to have privileges and rights that are enjoyed by adults. Some young persons feel that parental control is too strict and they long for the day when they can be free from parental restraint. But Jehovah has wisely and lovingly provided that the immaturity, the inexperience, the impulsiveness of youth, be controlled by their parents until they are able to assume adult responsibility. Waiting is thus the course of wisdom; it is an accepting of Jehovah’s arrangement. But not idle waiting.
While one is still in youth, there is much to learn and there are many opportunities to gain experience, skill and self-control. By paying close attention to your parents and teachers you can daily broaden your knowledge in many fields and acquire valuable training so that you can care for yourself later in life.
Are you reaching out for the office of overseer, or to become a ministerial servant in a Christian congregation? (Phil. 1:1; 1 Tim. 3:1) Time is needed for you to qualify. The Bible indicates that anyone so appointed should not be “a newly converted man.” (1 Tim. 3:6, 10) Nor could the office of “elder” appropriately be filled with one who is still a youth. He must have earned respect because of having good judgment and ability to give sound counsel. He needs an understanding of life’s problems. He must have a good background of Bible knowledge so he can reflect Jehovah’s mind on matters in teaching the congregation and in administering discipline as necessary. All of this takes time. It calls for personal effort to enlarge one’s capabilities. It also requires waiting upon Jehovah.
WAITING FOR RELIEF FROM OPPOSITION
Perhaps in your home there is an unbelieving mate or parent. He or she may have opposed you violently over the years when you wished to attend Christian meetings or to share in preaching the good news. You pray for relief. Do you ask for the removal of the opposer? Of course not! Rather, that he might become more reasonable, that God’s love might soften his heart and thus he might become a fellow believer within the home. But very often this takes time. Meanwhile, instead of idly wishing for this relief, there are definite things that can be done.
For example, the apostle Peter tells Christian wives that they might win their unbelieving husbands without a word. How? By wifely subjection and by adorning themselves with a quiet and mild spirit. Perhaps improvement can be made in these matters. With the wife and children never giving the head of the house occasion to have legitimate complaint, this is bound to impress him, even if it takes years.—1 Pet. 3:1, 2.
One husband wrote to the Watch Tower Society: “A short time ago I sat and reviewed the past twelve years of my life. This analysis crushed me. I saw how terribly mean I had been toward my wife, while she had borne everything with humility. . . . The more cruel I was, the more love and mercy she showed.” Now he is joining her in Christian worship and activity, to her great happiness and blessing. She is glad that she waited upon Jehovah.
Are you suffering from an injustice? You may be among a racial or class minority in your country that may be discriminated against in various ways. Or, you may even suffer imprisonment because of not compromising as a Christian. The natural tendency is to ‘hit back.’ You could become bitter and let hate fill your heart for those of another race or for those in authority. But what is the proper course for a Christian?
If all has been done to seek relief from the authorities or by what you can peaceably do yourself, wait upon Jehovah! “Do not say: ‘I will pay back evil!’ Hope in Jehovah, and he will save you.” (Prov. 20:22) Jesus set the finest example. When being mistreated, he did not threaten or revile his persecutors. (1 Pet. 2:21-23) Rest assured that injustices do not go unnoticed by God. At Jehovah’s appointed time, “evildoers themselves will be cut off, but those hoping in Jehovah are the ones that will possess the earth.” (Ps. 37:9) Perhaps we tend to be impatient for that time to come, but God lovingly has in mind the salvation of all sorts of men.—1 Tim. 2:4.
Has your need for patient endurance been as great as that of a young Christian in Europe who was arrested for the fourth time for not compromising his Christian neutrality, and this after already serving thirteen years and one day in prison? He continued to wait upon Jehovah. He has faith that “Jehovah knows how to deliver people of godly devotion out of trial, but to reserve unrighteous people for the day of judgment to be cut off.” (2 Pet. 2:9) He believes that very soon now God will administer righteousness and justice in the earth by the heavenly kingdom in the hands of his Prince of Peace, Christ Jesus. Do you have such faith?
STRONG HOPE WHEN FACED WITH SICKNESS
Are you plagued with poor health? Perhaps you have done all that you can do reasonably to improve your health through balanced diet, rest, exercise and medical attention. What can be done now? Wait upon Jehovah! Not for a miraculous cure, but for strength to endure, for good judgment in deciding what future treatments will be best, for the relief that his new order will bring.
While we do not attribute all our diseases and ailments to direct intervention of the Devil, as in the case of Job, we, nevertheless, can be sure he does try at times to take advantage of Jehovah’s people in their weakened physical state to cause discouragement and even abandonment of hope. We need Jehovah’s help. The psalmist David prayed: “I earnestly hoped in Jehovah, and so he inclined his ear to me and heard my cry for help.” (Ps. 40:1) You too can thus pray as you wait upon Jehovah. Jehovah does not abandon his servants. He gives them the strength to endure if they keep trusting in him.
But suppose the doctor informs one that death is imminent? All the more reason to hope in Jehovah! Doctors have been wrong; but if his diagnosis is right this time, what a thrilling thought it is that one will not have to wait long in the grave before standing up to life again in the resurrection under the kingdom of God’s Son. Jesus said: “Do not marvel at this, because the hour is coming in which all those in the memorial tombs will hear his voice and come out.” Job prayed that God would conceal him in Sheol and remember him at the appointed time. (John 5:28, 29; Job 14:13-15) Yes, with such strong encouragement, we can face even death!
MARRIAGE MAY REQUIRE WAITING
Is it your desire to marry but there is difficulty in finding the right person? Or are you required to wait because of being too young or until some condition is fulfilled? While we are not to conclude that Jehovah brings certain ones together today for marriage, we can, nevertheless, wait upon him in these matters too. How is that, you say? By conforming to his wise and loving requirement that we marry “only in the Lord,” that is, only a fellow worshiper of Jehovah. (1 Cor. 7:39) If we truly love Jehovah, that will not be a burden to us. That same love of God will move us to fill our lives with the work that God has given all his servants to do. This will fill our days with activity, and our lives with purpose. As we wait on Jehovah, we will have ‘plenty to do in the work of the Lord, knowing that our labor is not in vain.’—1 Cor. 15:58.
While waiting for a suitable marriage mate we can use the time to cultivate self-control, to improve ourselves as Christians. We will become more spiritually minded, more able to shoulder responsibilities, and thus become more desirable as a mate. In time we may meet a desirable fellow believer of the opposite sex who is looking for just such qualities in a mate. Whatever the case, we have not been inactive, perhaps in a sullen, frustrated way, nor have we allowed ourselves to become upset emotionally. We have been busy in Jehovah’s service and have been making Christian advancement.
The Scriptures abound with examples of those who waited upon Jehovah and were richly blessed. Of these, Paul wrote: “In faith all these died, although they did not get the fulfillment of the promises, but they saw them afar off and welcomed them and publicly declared that they were strangers and temporary residents in the land.”—Heb. 11:13.
In contrast to these faithful servants of old, we are on the very threshold of the new system that they ‘saw afar off.’ With strong assurance, therefore, let us keep waiting upon Jehovah with endurance, for “Jehovah is not slow respecting his promise, as some people consider slowness.” “Hope in Jehovah and keep his way, and he will exalt you to take possession of the earth. When the wicked ones are cut off, you will see it.”—2 Pet. 3:9, 13; Ps. 37:34.