“I will meditate on all your activity.”—PS. 77:12.
1, 2. (a) Why are you convinced that Jehovah loves his people? (b) With what need were all humans created?
WHY are you convinced that Jehovah loves his people? Before you answer that question, consider these examples: For several years, fellow believers kindly urged a sister named Taylene to be balanced and not to expect too much of herself. She comments: “If Jehovah didn’t love me, his counsel would not have been so persistent.” Brigitte, who raised two children alone after her husband died, states: “Raising children in Satan’s system is one of the most difficult challenges, especially for a single parent. But I am convinced of Jehovah’s love because he has guided me through tears and heartache, and he never let me experience more than I could endure.” (1 Cor. 10:13) Sandra struggles with an incurable illness. At a convention, she was shown personal interest by the wife of a well-known brother. “Although we did not know her personally,” says Sandra’s husband, “her deep concern brought great joy to our hearts. Even small expressions of love from our brothers and sisters show me how much Jehovah loves us.”
2 Humans were created with the need to love and be loved. It is easy to become discouraged if this need is not satisfied because of unexpected events or disappointments, loss of health, financial setbacks, or a lack of success in the ministry. If we begin to feel that Jehovah no longer loves us, we do well to remember that we are precious to him and that he is there, “grasping [our] right hand” and helping us. He will never forget us if we are faithful to him.—Isa. 41:13; 49:15.
3. What can help us to strengthen our conviction that Jehovah’s love for us is enduring?
3 The individuals quoted earlier were certain that God was with them in trying times. We too can have the conviction that he is on our side. (Ps. 118:6, 7) This article focuses on how God’s love is evident in connection with (1) his creative works, (2) his inspired Word, (3) prayer, and (4) the ransom. Meditating on the good things Jehovah has done will very likely increase our gratitude for his enduring love.—Read Psalm 77:11, 12.
MEDITATE ON JEHOVAH’S CREATIVE WORKS
4. What does meditation on Jehovah’s creative works reveal?
4 Can we see Jehovah’s enduring love for us in what he has created? Yes, we can because the very act of creation was a manifestation of God’s love. (Rom. 1:20) He designed the earth with an ecosystem in which we can safely exist and thrive. However, he wants us to do more than merely exist. We need to eat to keep on living. Jehovah made sure that the earth could produce a seemingly endless variety of plants that can be prepared as wholesome food. Why, he even made eating a delightful and satisfying experience! (Eccl. 9:7) A sister named Catherine finds great pleasure in observing creation, especially during the invigorating spring season in Canada. She remarks: “It is truly amazing how everything comes to life—flowers that are programmed to pop out of the ground and birds that return from their migration, including the tiny hummingbird that finds its way to the bird feeder outside my kitchen window. Jehovah must love us to give us so much delight.” Our loving heavenly Father takes pleasure in his creative works, and he wants us to enjoy them as well.—Acts 14:16, 17.
5. How is Jehovah’s love evident in the way humans are made?
5 Jehovah created us with the ability to perform productive and meaningful work that adds to our enjoyment of life. (Eccl. 2:24) He purposed that humans fill the earth, subdue it, and have in subjection the fish, the birds, and other living creatures. (Gen. 1:26-28) And how loving of Jehovah to endow us with qualities that enable us to imitate him!—Eph. 5:1.
VALUE GOD’S INSPIRED WORD
6. Why should we have deep appreciation for God’s Word?
6 God has shown great love in giving us his inspired Word. It reveals what we need to know about him and his dealings with mankind. For instance, the Scriptures tell us how he dealt with the Israelites, who frequently disobeyed him. Psalm 78:38 states: “He was merciful; he would forgive their error and not bring them to ruin. He often held back his anger instead of stirring up all his wrath.” Reflecting on that verse may help you to appreciate in a very personal way that Jehovah loves and cares for you. Be assured that you do matter to Jehovah.—Read 1 Peter 5:6, 7.
7. Why should we have high regard for the Bible?
7 We should value the Bible highly because God communicates with us primarily by means of it. Meaningful and compassionate communication between parents and their children is essential to building mutual trust and developing a feeling of being loved. What can we expect of Jehovah? Although we have never seen him or heard his voice, he “speaks” to us through his inspired Word, and we need to listen. (Isa. 30:20, 21) Jehovah desires to guide us, his dedicated people, and to protect us from harm. He also wants us to know him and to put our trust in him.—Read Psalm 19:7-11; Proverbs 1:33.
8, 9. What does Jehovah want us to know? Illustrate this with a Bible example.
8 Jehovah wants us to know him as someone who loves us and looks beyond our imperfection. He searches for the good in us. (2 Chron. 16:9) For instance, he did so in the case of King Jehoshaphat of Judah. On one occasion, Jehoshaphat unwisely agreed to accompany King Ahab of Israel in a military venture to recover Ramoth-gilead from the Syrians. Although 400 false prophets assured wicked Ahab of success, Jehovah’s true prophet Micaiah foretold certain defeat. Ahab died in battle, and Jehoshaphat barely escaped with his life. Upon returning to Jerusalem, he was reproved for allying himself with Ahab. Even so, Jehu, the son of Hanani the visionary, told Jehoshaphat: “There are good things that have been found in you.”—2 Chron. 18:4, 5, 18-22, 33, 34; 19:1-3.
9 Early in his reign, Jehoshaphat had directed that princes, Levites, and priests travel through all the cities of Judah to teach his subjects Jehovah’s Law. The campaign was so effective that people of the surrounding nations began to fear Jehovah. (2 Chron. 17:3-10) Yes, Jehoshaphat committed a foolish act, but Jehovah was not blind to the good things he had done. This Bible account provides a reminder that despite our human imperfection, Jehovah will have enduring love for us if we wholeheartedly seek to please him.
APPRECIATE THE PRIVILEGE OF PRAYER
10, 11. (a) Why is prayer a special provision from Jehovah? (b) How may God answer our prayers? (See opening image.)
10 A loving father takes time to listen to his children when they want to talk to him. He wants to know their concerns and anxieties because he cares about what is in their heart. Our heavenly Father, Jehovah, listens to us when we approach him through the precious privilege of prayer.
11 We can approach Jehovah in prayer at any time. He has placed no restrictions on us. He is our Friend who is always ready to give us a hearing ear. Taylene, quoted earlier, says: “You can say anything and everything to him.” When we express our most intimate thoughts to God in prayer, he may answer us through a Bible passage, an article in a magazine, or an encouraging word from a fellow believer. Jehovah hears our pleas and understands us even when no one else does. His response to our prayers is a beautiful expression of his enduring love for us.
12. Why should we take note of prayers recorded in the Bible? Give an example.
12 We can learn much from prayers recorded in God’s Word. At times, therefore, we may find it very beneficial to consider such prayers during family worship. Reflecting on how Jehovah’s servants of the past expressed their deepest thoughts to God may help us to enrich our own prayers. For instance, consider Jonah’s contrite prayer from the belly of a huge fish. (Jonah 1:17–2:10) Review Solomon’s heartfelt prayer to Jehovah at the inauguration of the temple. (1 Ki. 8:22-53) Meditate on the model prayer that Jesus offered for our benefit. (Matt. 6:9-13) Above all, regularly “let your petitions be made known to God.” As a result, “the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your mental powers.” Our gratitude for Jehovah’s enduring love will increase.—Phil. 4:6, 7.
SHOW GRATITUDE FOR THE RANSOM
13. What opportunity is open to humans because of the loving provision of the ransom?
13 The undeserved gift of Jesus’ ransom sacrifice was given so that “we might gain life.” (1 John 4:9) Referring to this superlative expression of God’s love, the apostle Paul wrote: “Christ died for ungodly men at the appointed time. For hardly would anyone die for a righteous man; though perhaps for a good man someone may dare to die. But God recommends his own love to us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom. 5:6-8) This greatest expression of God’s love opened to mankind the prospect of having a favored standing with Jehovah.
14, 15. What does the ransom mean for (a) anointed Christians? (b) those with the earthly hope?
14 A few feel Jehovah’s enduring love in a very special way. (John 1:12, 13; 3:5-7) Having been anointed by holy spirit, they have become “God’s children.” (Rom. 8:15, 16) Paul described anointed Christians as having been ‘raised up and seated together in the heavenly places in union with Christ Jesus.’ (Eph. 2:6) They occupy this spiritual position because they have been ‘sealed with the promised holy spirit, which is a token in advance of their inheritance,’ that is, ‘the hope reserved for them in the heavens.’—Eph. 1:13, 14; Col. 1:5.
15 For the vast majority of mankind who exercise faith in the ransom, the way is open to be Jehovah’s friends with the prospect of being adopted as children of God and living forever in the promised earthly Paradise. Thus, by means of the ransom, Jehovah shows his love for the world of mankind. (John 3:16) If we hope to live forever on earth and we continue to serve Jehovah faithfully, we can be assured that he will make life pleasant for us in the new world. How fitting it is that we view the ransom as the greatest evidence of God’s enduring love for us!
RESPOND TO JEHOVAH’S LOVE
16. What does meditation on the many ways that Jehovah has shown his love do for us?
16 We can only endeavor to count the various manifestations of Jehovah’s unfailing love for us. The psalmist David sang: “To me, how precious your thoughts are! O God, how vast is the sum of them! If I try to count them, they outnumber the grains of sand.” (Ps. 139:17, 18) We should allow these thoughts to nurture in us a desire to love Jehovah deeply in return for his loving care for us. By all means, then, let us give our very best to him.
17, 18. What are some ways that we can show our love for God?
17 There are many ways to express our love for Jehovah. For example, we show love for God and neighbor by having a zealous share in the Kingdom-preaching work. (Matt. 24:14; 28:19, 20) We show that we truly love Jehovah by enduring tests of faith as integrity keepers. (Read Psalm 84:11; James 1:2-5.) If our trials become severe, we can be sure that God is aware of our suffering and will help us, for we are precious to him.—Ps. 56:8.
18 Our love for Jehovah moves us to meditate on his creative works and other marvelous deeds. We show that we love God and highly value his Word by diligently studying the Bible. Love for Jehovah draws us ever closer to him in prayer. And our love for God grows deeper as we reflect on the ransom sacrifice he provided for our sins. (1 John 2:1, 2) These are just some of the many reasons we have for loving Jehovah in response to his enduring love for us.