Strengthen Your Trust in Jehovah
A murderous plot is afoot. All the high officials of the land have consulted together and have come up with a proposal for a new law. They want to make it a capital offense for anyone to engage in worship that is not approved by the State.
DOES this sound familiar? History is full of examples of people who resorted to framing mischief by law. The above instance took place in the Persian Empire in the days of the prophet Daniel. The law, which King Darius did enact, stipulated: “Whoever makes a petition to any god or man for thirty days except to [the] king should be thrown to the lions’ pit.”—Daniel 6:7-9.
What would Daniel do under the threat of death? Would he continue to trust in his God, Jehovah, or would he compromise and do as the king dictated? The record tells us: “Daniel, as soon as he knew that the writing had been signed, entered into his house, and, the windows in his roof chamber being open for him toward Jerusalem, even three times in a day he was kneeling on his knees and praying and offering praise before his God, as he had been regularly doing prior to this.” (Daniel 6:10) The rest of the account is well-known. Daniel was thrown into the lions’ den for his faith, but Jehovah “stopped the mouths of lions” and rescued his loyal servant.—Hebrews 11:33; Daniel 6:16-22.
Time for Self-Examination
Today, Jehovah’s servants are living in a hostile world, facing many threats to their physical and spiritual welfare. For example, in the brutal outburst of racial hatred in certain countries, many Witnesses have been killed. Elsewhere, Jehovah’s servants have faced food shortages, economic hardships, natural disasters, serious sickness, and other life-threatening situations. In addition, they have had to deal with persecution, pressures from work, and various temptations to do wrong, all of which may threaten their spirituality. Indeed, the great Adversary, Satan, is bent on destroying Jehovah’s servants by whatever means may prove successful.—1 Peter 5:8.
Faced with such circumstances, what can we do? While it is natural to experience fear when one’s life is threatened, we can keep in mind the apostle Paul’s reassuring words: “[Jehovah] has said: ‘I will by no means leave you nor by any means forsake you.’ So that we may be of good courage and say: ‘Jehovah is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?’” (Hebrews 13:5, 6) We can be confident that Jehovah feels the same about his servants today. However, it is one thing to know Jehovah’s promise but quite another to be convinced that he will act in our behalf. It is therefore vitally important that we examine the basis on which trust in Jehovah is built and that we do everything we can to strengthen and maintain that trust. If we do that, “the peace of God that excels all thought will guard [our] hearts and [our] mental powers by means of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7) Then when trials do come, we will be able to think clearly and deal with them wisely.
Basis for Trust in Jehovah
We certainly have many reasons to trust in our Creator, Jehovah. First among them is the fact that Jehovah is a loving God who genuinely cares for his servants. There are innumerable instances recorded in the Bible that tell of Jehovah’s loving care for his servants. Describing Jehovah’s dealings with his chosen people, Israel, Moses wrote: “He came to find him in a wilderness land, and in an empty, howling desert. He began to encircle him, to take care of him, to safeguard him as the pupil of his eye.” (Deuteronomy 32:10) In modern times, Jehovah continues to take good care of his servants, both as a group and as individuals. For example, when some Witnesses experienced extreme food shortage during the civil war in Bosnia, Jehovah saw to it that they received much-needed supplies through the courageous effort of their brothers from Croatia and Austria, who risked their lives to travel through extremely dangerous territory to bring relief material to their brothers.*
Since Jehovah God is the Almighty, he is certainly capable of protecting his servants under any circumstance. (Isaiah 33:22; Revelation 4:8) But even when Jehovah allows some of his servants to prove faithful right unto death, he still sustains them and helps them to maintain their integrity, enabling them to remain steadfast, joyful, and calm right to the end. We can therefore have the same confidence as the psalmist: “God is for us a refuge and strength, a help that is readily to be found during distresses. That is why we shall not fear, though the earth undergo change and though the mountains totter into the heart of the vast sea.”—Psalm 46:1, 2.
The Bible also reveals that Jehovah is a God of truth. This means that he is always true to his promises. In fact, the Bible describes him as a God “who cannot lie.” (Titus 1:2) Since Jehovah reiterated time and again his willingness to protect and save his servants, we can be absolutely sure that he is not only able but also ready to fulfill his promises.—Job 42:2.
Ways to Strengthen Our Trust
Although we have every reason to put our trust in Jehovah, we must not take the matter for granted. This is because the world in general has little faith in God, and such an attitude can easily weaken our trust in Jehovah. Therefore, we must put forth strenuous effort to strengthen and maintain that trust. Jehovah is well aware of this, and he has provided the means by which we can do so.
First of all, he has provided his written Word, the Bible, which records numerous mighty deeds he performed in behalf of his servants. Just think, how much confidence can you have in someone if all you know is his name? Probably very little, if any. You need to know his ways and his deeds to have confidence in him, do you not? As we read and meditate on such Bible accounts, our knowledge of Jehovah and his wonderful ways deepens, and we come to appreciate more and more how trustworthy he is. Thus our confidence in him is strengthened. The psalmist set an excellent example when he said in fervent prayer to God: “I shall remember the practices of Jah; for I will remember your marvelous doing of long ago. And I shall certainly meditate on all your activity, and with your dealings I will concern myself.”—Psalm 77:11, 12.
In addition to the Bible, we have a rich source of spiritual food in the Bible publications produced by Jehovah’s organization. Among other things, these publications often contain moving accounts of God’s servants in modern times, showing how Jehovah was able to provide help and relief when they fell into desperate situations. For example, Martin Poetzinger, who later became a member of the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses, fell seriously ill while serving as a pioneer in areas of Europe away from his homeland. He had no money, and no doctor was willing to see him. But Jehovah did not abandon him. Finally, the senior consultant of the local hospital was contacted. Being a firm believer in the Bible, this kind man cared for Brother Poetzinger as he would for a son, doing so free of charge. Reading such personal stories can certainly strengthen our trust in our heavenly Father.
Another invaluable aid that Jehovah provides to strengthen our trust in him is the precious privilege of prayer. The apostle Paul lovingly tells us: “Do not be anxious over anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication along with thanksgiving let your petitions be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6) “Everything” can include our feelings, needs, fears, and anxieties. The more frequent and heartfelt our prayers are, the stronger our trust in Jehovah will be.
When Jesus Christ was on earth, he sometimes went to a lonely place by himself to pray undisturbed. (Matthew 14:23; Mark 1:35) Before making weighty decisions, he even spent all night praying to his Father. (Luke 6:12, 13) It is not surprising that Jesus’ trust in Jehovah was so strong that he was able to endure the most gruesome test that has come upon anyone. His last words on the torture stake were: “Father, into your hands I entrust my spirit.” That expression of confidence demonstrated that to the end his trust in his Father was undiminished, even though Jehovah did not intervene to save him.—Luke 23:46.
Still another means to build our trust in Jehovah is regular association with those who trust in him wholeheartedly. Jehovah commanded his people to congregate regularly to learn more about him and to encourage one another. (Deuteronomy 31:12; Hebrews 10:24, 25) Such association strengthened their trust in Jehovah, enabling them to endure crucial tests of faith. In an African country where the preaching work was banned, Jehovah’s Witnesses were denied police protection, travel documents, marriage certificates, hospital treatment, and jobs. When civil war broke out in one area, 39 members, including children, of a nearby congregation lived for about four months under a low bridge in the desert in order to escape the shelling in their town. Under such extreme hardship, their daily discussion of a Bible text and other meetings gave them great strength. Thus they were able to endure the ordeal with their spirituality intact. This experience clearly shows the value of meeting regularly with Jehovah’s people.
Finally, to strengthen our trust in Jehovah, we must keep active in the Kingdom-preaching work, always ready to share the good news with others. This was demonstrated by the moving experience of a zealous young publisher in Canada who was terminally ill with leukemia. Despite her serious sickness, she wanted to become a regular pioneer, that is, a full-time minister. During a brief remission of her illness, she was well enough to spend one month in the ministry as an auxiliary pioneer. Then her condition worsened, and she died a few months later. Yet, she remained spiritually strong right to the end, her trust in Jehovah never wavering for a moment. Her mother recalled: “To the end, she was more concerned about others than about herself. She would encourage them to study the Bible, telling them, ‘We will be together in Paradise.’”
Proving Our Trust in Jehovah
“As the body without spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.” (James 2:26) What James said about faith in God can also be said of our trust in Him. No matter how much we say we trust in God, it is meaningless unless we demonstrate that trust by our actions. Abraham trusted implicitly in Jehovah and proved that trust by unquestioning obedience to his commands, even to the extent of being prepared to sacrifice his son, Isaac. Because of such outstanding trust and obedience, Abraham became known as Jehovah’s friend.—Hebrews 11:8-10, 17-19; James 2:23.
We do not have to wait for some severe test to come upon us before we show our trust in Jehovah. Jesus told his disciples: “The person faithful in what is least is faithful also in much, and the person unrighteous in what is least is unrighteous also in much.” (Luke 16:10) We should learn to trust in Jehovah in all our daily activities, obeying him even in matters that may seem insignificant. When we observe the benefits that come from such obedience, our trust in our heavenly Father is strengthened, enabling us to face larger or more formidable trials.
As the world approaches its catastrophic end, Jehovah’s people are bound to experience more trials and dangers. (Acts 14:22; 2 Timothy 3:12) By building up strong and implicit trust in Jehovah now, we can look forward to survival into his promised new world—either by living through the great tribulation or by receiving a resurrection. (2 Peter 3:13) May we never allow any lack of trust on our part to damage our precious relationship with Jehovah. Then, what was said of Daniel after he was delivered from the lions’ den can also be said of us: “There was no hurt at all found on him, because he had trusted in his God.”—Daniel 6:23.
For details, see The Watchtower, November 1, 1994, pages 23-7.
[Picture on page 9]
Reading accounts of faithful servants of Jehovah, like Martin Poetzinger, is faith strengthening