Jehovah Gives to the Tired One Power
“Those who are hoping in Jehovah will regain power. They will mount up with wings like eagles.”—ISAIAH 40:31.
1, 2. What does Jehovah give to those trusting in him, and what will we now consider?
EAGLES are among the most powerful birds in the skies. They can glide great distances without even flapping their wings. With wings that may span over seven feet [2 m], “the King of Birds,” the golden eagle, is “one of the most impressive of all eagles; lifting above hills and plains, [it] soars for hours over some mountain ridge, then rises in spirals until a dark speck in [the] sky.”—The Audubon Society Encyclopedia of North American Birds.
2 With the flight abilities of the eagle in mind, Isaiah wrote: “[Jehovah] is giving to the tired one power; and to the one without dynamic energy he makes full might abound. Boys will both tire out and grow weary, and young men themselves will without fail stumble, but those who are hoping in Jehovah will regain power. They will mount up with wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not tire out.” (Isaiah 40:29-31) How comforting to know that Jehovah gives those trusting in him the power to go on, as if equipping them with the seemingly tireless wings of the soaring eagle! Consider, now, some of the provisions he has made to give to the tired one power.
The Power of Prayer
3, 4. (a) Jesus urged his disciples to do what? (b) What may we expect Jehovah to do in answer to our prayers?
3 Jesus urged his disciples “always to pray and not to give up.” (Luke 18:1) Can pouring our heart out to Jehovah really help us to regain power and avoid giving up when life’s pressures seem overwhelming? Yes, but there are some things we must keep in mind.
4 We must be realistic in what we expect Jehovah to do in answer to our prayers. One Christian who had slipped into a deep depression later observed: “As with other illnesses, Jehovah does not perform miracles at this time. But he does help us to cope and to heal to the extent that we can in this system.” Explaining why her prayers made a difference, she added: “I had 24-hour-a-day access to Jehovah’s holy spirit.” Thus, Jehovah does not shield us from the pressures of life that can weigh us down, but he does “give holy spirit to those asking him!” (Luke 11:13; Psalm 88:1-3) That spirit can make us equal to any trial or pressure we may face. (1 Corinthians 10:13) If necessary, it can infuse us with “power beyond what is normal” to endure until God’s Kingdom removes all stressful problems in the new world so near at hand.—2 Corinthians 4:7.
5. (a) For our prayers to be effective, what two things are vital? (b) How might we pray if we are fighting a weakness of the flesh? (c) What will our persistent and specific prayers demonstrate to Jehovah?
5 In order for our prayers to be effective, though, we must persevere, and we must be specific. (Romans 12:12) For instance, if you grow weary at times because you are fighting a weakness of the flesh, at the start of each day, petition Jehovah to help you to avoid succumbing to that specific weakness during the day. Pray similarly throughout the day and before going to sleep each night. If you have a setback, beg Jehovah for his forgiveness, but also talk to him about what led to the relapse and what you might do to avoid those circumstances in the future. Such persistent and specific prayers will demonstrate to the “Hearer of prayer” the sincerity of your desire to win the fight.—Psalm 65:2; Luke 11:5-13.
6. Why may we rightly expect Jehovah to hear our prayers even when we may feel unworthy to pray?
6 Sometimes, however, those who have grown weary may feel unworthy to pray. A Christian woman who had felt that way later observed: “That is very dangerous thinking because it means that we have taken it upon ourselves to judge ourselves, but that does not belong to us.” Indeed, “God himself is Judge.” (Psalm 50:6) The Bible assures us that although “our hearts may condemn us . . . , God is greater than our hearts and knows all things.” (1 John 3:20) How comforting to know that when we may judge ourselves as unworthy to pray, Jehovah may not feel that way toward us! He “knows all things” about us, including the circumstances in our life that may have caused us to feel so unworthy. (Psalm 103:10-14) His mercy and depth of understanding move him to hear prayers from “a heart broken and crushed.” (Psalm 51:17) How could he refuse to hear our cries for help when he himself condemns “anyone stopping up his ear from the complaining cry of the lowly one”?—Proverbs 21:13.
The Warmth of the Brotherhood
7. (a) What is another provision Jehovah has made to help us to regain power? (b) Knowing what about our brotherhood can be strengthening to us?
7 Another provision Jehovah has made to help us to regain power is our Christian brotherhood. What a precious privilege it is to be part of a worldwide family of brothers and sisters! (1 Peter 2:17) When the pressures of life weigh us down, the warmth of our brotherhood can help us regain power. How so? Knowing that we are not alone in facing stressful challenges can be strengthening in itself. Among our brothers and sisters, there are no doubt some who have faced similar pressures or trials and who have experienced feelings much like our own. (1 Peter 5:9) It is reassuring to know that what we are going through is not uncommon and that our feelings are not unusual.
8. (a) What examples show how we may find much needed assistance and comfort in our brotherhood? (b) In what way have you personally been assisted or comforted by “a true companion”?
8 In the warmth of the brotherhood we can find ‘true companions’ who, when we are in distress, can provide much needed assistance and comfort. (Proverbs 17:17) Often, all it takes are some kind words or thoughtful actions. A Christian who struggled with feelings of worthlessness recalls: “There were friends who would feed me with positive things about myself to help me overcome the negative thoughts I had.” (Proverbs 15:23) Following the death of her young daughter, a sister found it difficult at first to sing Kingdom songs at congregation meetings, especially songs that mentioned the resurrection. “One time,” she recalls, “a sister who was sitting across the aisle saw me crying. She came over, put her arm around me, and sang the rest of the song with me. I felt so full of love for the brothers and sisters and so happy that we had got to the meetings, realizing that’s where our help is, there at the Kingdom Hall.”
9, 10. (a) How may we contribute to the warmth of our brotherhood? (b) Who especially need wholesome association? (c) What can we do to help those who need encouragement?
9 Of course, each of us has a responsibility to contribute to the warmth of the Christian brotherhood. Thus, our hearts should “widen out” to include all our brothers and sisters. (2 Corinthians 6:13) How sad it would be for those who have grown weary to feel that the love of the brotherhood has cooled toward them! Yet, some Christians report feeling lonely and left out. A sister whose husband opposes the truth pleaded: “Who does not desire and need upbuilding friendships, encouragement, and loving association? Please remind our brothers and sisters that we need them!” Yes, especially do those whose circumstances in life weigh them down—those with unbelieving mates, single parents, those with chronic health problems, older ones, and others—need wholesome association. Do some of us need to be reminded of that?
10 What can we do to help? Let us widen out in expressing our love. When extending hospitality, let us not forget those who need encouragement. (Luke 14:12-14; Hebrews 13:2) Rather than assuming that their circumstances prevent them from accepting, why not invite them anyway? Then let them decide. Even if they cannot accept, they will no doubt feel encouraged to know that others have thought of them. It may be just what they need to regain power.
11. Those who are weighed down may need assistance in what ways?
11 Those who are weighed down may need assistance in other ways. A single mother, for example, may need a mature brother to show interest in her fatherless boy. (James 1:27) A brother or a sister with a serious health problem may need some help with shopping or household chores. An older one may yearn for some companionship or need some assistance to get out in the field ministry. When there is an ongoing need for such aid, it poses a real ‘test of the genuineness of our love.’ (2 Corinthians 8:8) Instead of drawing away from needy ones because of the time and effort involved, may we pass the test of Christian love by being sensitive and responsive to the needs of others.
The Power of God’s Word
12. How does God’s Word help us to regain power?
12 A person who stops eating will soon lose his strength, or power. Accordingly, another way Jehovah gives us the power to go on is by seeing to it that we are well fed spiritually. (Isaiah 65:13, 14) What spiritual food has he provided? Above all, his Word, the Bible. (Matthew 4:4; compare Hebrews 4:12.) How can it help us to regain power? When the pressures and problems we face begin to sap our strength, we can draw strength from reading about the feelings and real-life struggles of faithful men and women in Bible times. Although outstanding examples of integrity, they were humans “with feelings like ours.” (James 5:17; Acts 14:15) They faced trials and pressures similar to our own. Consider some examples.
13. What Scriptural examples show that faithful men and women in Bible times had feelings and experiences much like our own?
13 The patriarch Abraham grieved deeply over the death of his wife even though he had faith in the resurrection. (Genesis 23:2; compare Hebrews 11:8-10, 17-19.) A repentant David felt that his sins had made him unworthy to serve Jehovah. (Psalm 51:11) Moses had feelings of inadequacy. (Exodus 4:10) Epaphroditus became depressed when it became known that a serious illness limited his activity in “the Lord’s work.” (Philippians 2:25-30) Paul had to fight against the fallen flesh. (Romans 7:21-25) Euodia and Syntyche, two anointed sisters in the congregation at Philippi, apparently had some difficulty getting along. (Philippians 1:1; 4:2, 3) How encouraging to know that these faithful ones had feelings and experiences like our own, yet they did not give up! Neither did Jehovah give up on them.
14. (a) What instrument has Jehovah used to help us to draw strength from his Word? (b) Why have the Watchtower and Awake! journals carried articles on social, family, and emotional issues?
14 To help us draw strength from his Word, Jehovah uses the faithful and discreet slave class to provide us with a steady flow of “food at the proper time.” (Matthew 24:45) The faithful slave has long used the Watchtower and Awake! journals to defend Bible truth and proclaim God’s Kingdom as man’s only hope. Especially in the last few decades, these journals have carried timely Scriptural articles on social, family, and emotional challenges that even some of God’s people encounter. For what purpose has such information been published? Certainly to help those who are experiencing these challenges to draw strength and encouragement from God’s Word. But such articles also help all of us to have a clearer understanding of what some of our brothers and sisters may be going through. Thus we are better equipped to heed Paul’s words: “Speak consolingly to the depressed souls, support the weak, be long-suffering toward all.”—1 Thessalonians 5:14.
Elders Who Are “a Hiding Place From the Wind”
15. What did Isaiah prophesy about those serving as elders, and what responsibility does this place upon them?
15 Jehovah has provided something else to help us when we grow weary—the congregation elders. Of these the prophet Isaiah wrote: “Each one must prove to be like a hiding place from the wind and a place of concealment from the rainstorm, like streams of water in a waterless country, like the shadow of a heavy crag in an exhausted land.” (Isaiah 32:1, 2) Elders, then, have a responsibility to measure up to what Jehovah has foretold about them. They “must prove to be” sources of comfort and refreshment to others and be willing to “go on carrying the burdens [or, “troublesome things”; literally, “heavy things”] of one another.” (Galatians 6:2, footnote) How can they do this?
16. What can the elders do to help one who feels unworthy to pray?
16 As previously mentioned, sometimes a person who has grown weary may feel unworthy to pray. What can the elders do? They can pray with and for the person. (James 5:14) Simply asking Jehovah, in the hearing of the weary one, to help that one to understand how much he or she is loved by Jehovah and by others would certainly be comforting. Hearing the fervent, heartfelt prayer of an elder may help strengthen the confidence of a distressed person. He or she may be helped to reason that if the elders are confident that Jehovah will answer prayers in behalf of that one, then he or she can share that confidence.
17. Why must elders be empathetic listeners?
17 “Every man must be swift about hearing, slow about speaking,” says James 1:19. To help weary ones to regain power, elders must also be empathetic listeners. In some cases congregation members may be struggling with problems or pressures that cannot be solved in this system of things. What they may need, then, is not some solution to “fix” their problem but simply to talk to a good listener—someone who will not tell them how they are supposed to feel but who will listen without being judgmental.—Luke 6:37; Romans 14:13.
18, 19. (a) How can being quick to listen help an elder to avoid making a weary one’s load even heavier? (b) What results when elders show “fellow feeling”?
18 Elders, being quick to listen can help you to avoid unwittingly making a weary one’s load even heavier. For instance, if a brother or a sister has missed some meetings or has slowed down in the field ministry, does he or she really need counsel about doing more in the ministry or about being more regular at meetings? Perhaps. But do you have the whole picture? Are there increasing health problems? Have family responsibilities recently changed? Are there other circumstances or pressures that are weighing him or her down? Remember, the person may already feel very guilty about not being able to do more.
19 How, then, can you help the brother or sister? Before you draw conclusions and offer advice, listen! (Proverbs 18:13) With discerning questions ‘draw up’ the feelings of the person’s heart. (Proverbs 20:5) Do not dismiss these feelings—recognize them. The weary one may need to be reassured that Jehovah cares for us and understands that at times our circumstances may limit us. (1 Peter 5:7) When elders show such “fellow feeling,” weary ones will ‘find refreshment for their souls.’ (1 Peter 3:8; Matthew 11:28-30) When they find such refreshment, they will not need to be told to do more; their hearts will impel them to do all they reasonably can in serving Jehovah.—Compare 2 Corinthians 8:12; 9:7.
20. With the end of this wicked generation so close at hand, what should we be determined to do?
20 Truly we are living in the most demanding time of all human history. The pressures of living in Satan’s world are increasing as we get deeper into the time of the end. Remember, like a hunting lion, the Devil waits for us to grow weary and give up so he can take advantage of us as easy prey. How thankful we can be that Jehovah gives to the tired one power! May we take full advantage of the provisions he has made to give us the power to go on, as if he were supplying us with the mighty wings of a soaring eagle. With the end of this wicked generation so near, now is no time to stop running in our race for the prize—everlasting life.—Hebrews 12:1.
What Is Your Answer?
□ What may we expect Jehovah to do in answer to our prayers?
□ In what ways may we draw strength from our Christian brotherhood?
□ How does God’s Word help us to regain power?
□ What can elders do to help weary ones to regain power?
[Picture on page 17]
When extending hospitality, let us not forget those who need encouragement
[Picture on page 18]
Elders can ask Jehovah to help weary ones understand how much they are loved