“I will show a waiting attitude.”—MIC. 7:7.
SONG 128 Enduring to the End
1-2. What will we consider in this article?
HOW do you feel when a package containing an item that you really need does not arrive when you are expecting it? Are you disappointed? Proverbs 13:12 realistically states: “Expectation postponed makes the heart sick.” But what if you learn that there are good reasons why the package did not arrive when you expected it to come? In that case, you would likely be patient and willing to wait.
2 In this article, we will look at several Bible principles that can help us to develop and keep “a waiting attitude.” (Mic. 7:7) Then, we will examine two areas in which we must patiently wait for Jehovah to act. Finally, we will consider the blessings that are in store for those who are willing to wait on Jehovah.
BIBLE PRINCIPLES THAT TEACH US PATIENCE
3. What does the principle recorded at Proverbs 13:11 highlight?
3 An example that illustrates the need for patience is recorded at Proverbs 13:11. It says: “Wealth quickly gained will dwindle, but the wealth of the one who gathers it little by little will increase.” Do you see the principle? There is wisdom in doing things patiently, one step at a time.
4. What does the principle found at Proverbs 4:18 highlight?
4 Proverbs 4:18 tells us that “the path of the righteous is like the bright morning light that grows brighter and brighter until full daylight.” These words aptly apply to the way in which Jehovah reveals his purpose to his people—gradually. However, the verse can also be applied more broadly to the way in which a Christian makes spiritual progress in his life. Spiritual growth cannot be rushed. It takes time. If we diligently study and apply the counsel we receive through God’s Word and his organization, we will gradually develop a Christlike personality. We will also grow in our knowledge of God. Consider how Jesus illustrated that point.
5. How did Jesus illustrate gradual growth?
5 Jesus used an illustration to explain how the Kingdom message we preach is like a tiny seed that gradually develops in honesthearted ones. He said: “The seeds sprout and grow tall—just how, he [the sower] does not know. On its own the ground bears fruit gradually, first the stalk, then the head, finally the full grain in the head.” (Mark 4:27, 28) What point was Jesus making? He was explaining that just as a plant grows little by little, so a person who accepts the Kingdom message grows spiritually little by little. For example, as our sincere Bible students draw closer to Jehovah, we begin to see the many fine changes that they have made. (Eph. 4:22-24) But we must remember that it is Jehovah who makes that tiny seed grow.—1 Cor. 3:7.
6-7. What do we learn from the way that Jehovah created the earth?
6 In all that he does, Jehovah patiently takes whatever time is needed to complete his work. He does so both for the glory of his name and for the benefit of others. Consider, for example, the step-by-step manner in which Jehovah prepared the earth for mankind.
7 When describing how Jehovah created the earth, the Bible speaks of his setting “its measurements,” sinking “its pedestals,” and laying “its cornerstone.” (Job 38:5, 6) He even took the time to reflect on his work. (Gen. 1:10, 12) Can you imagine how the angels felt as they saw Jehovah’s creative works gradually taking shape? How exciting that must have been for them! Why, at one point, they began “shouting in applause.” (Job 38:7) What do we learn? Jehovah’s creative works took many thousands of years to accomplish, but when Jehovah surveyed everything that he had created so thoughtfully, he pronounced it “very good.”—Gen. 1:31.
8. What will we now consider?
8 As we have seen in the examples above, we can find many principles in God’s Word that highlight the need for patience. We will now look at two specific areas in which we must be willing to wait on Jehovah.
WHEN DO WE NEED TO WAIT ON JEHOVAH?
9. What is one area in which we need to wait on Jehovah?
9 We may need to wait for our prayers to be answered. When we pray for strength to deal with a trial or for help to overcome a weakness, we may feel that the relief we are seeking is taking longer than we had hoped. Why does Jehovah not answer all our prayers right away?
10. Why is patience needed when it comes to our prayers?
10 Jehovah listens carefully to our prayers. (Ps. 65:2) He views our sincere prayers as evidence of our faith. (Heb. 11:6) Jehovah is also interested in seeing how determined we are to live in harmony with our prayers and to do his will. (1 John 3:22) So we may need to show patience and work along with our prayers whenever we are trying to overcome a bad habit or a weakness. Jesus implied that some of our prayers might not be answered immediately. He urged: “Keep on asking, and it will be given you; keep on seeking, and you will find; keep on knocking, and it will be opened to you; for everyone asking receives, and everyone seeking finds, and to everyone knocking, it will be opened.” (Matt. 7:7, 8) When we follow this advice and “persevere in prayer,” we can be confident that our heavenly Father hears us and will answer our prayers.—Col. 4:2.
11. How does Hebrews 4:16 help us when an answer to a prayer seems to be delayed?
11 Although an answer to a prayer may seem to be delayed, Jehovah promises to answer our prayer “at the right time.” (Read Hebrews 4:16.) That is why we must never blame Jehovah if something does not happen as quickly as we think it should. For example, many have been praying for years to see God’s Kingdom bring an end to this system of things. Jesus even said that we should pray for this. (Matt. 6:10) But how foolish it would be if someone allowed his faith in God to weaken because the end did not come when humans expected it! (Hab. 2:3; Matt. 24:44) We are wise to keep waiting on Jehovah and praying to him in faith. The end will come at exactly the right time, for Jehovah has already chosen the “day and hour” for it to arrive. And that day will prove to be the best time for all.—Matt. 24:36; 2 Pet. 3:15.
12. In what situation especially might our patience be tried?
12 We may need to be patient while waiting for justice to be done. People in this world often mistreat those who are of a different gender, race, ethnicity, tribe, or nationality. Others are mistreated because of having physical or mental disabilities. Many of Jehovah’s people have endured injustice because of their Bible-based beliefs. When we are wronged in such ways, we must keep in mind Jesus’ words. He said: “The one who has endured to the end will be saved.” (Matt. 24:13) But what if you become aware of serious wrongdoing by someone in the congregation? After the elders have been informed of the matter, will you leave it in their hands, patiently waiting for them to care for it in Jehovah’s way? What might be involved?
13. What is involved in handling matters Jehovah’s way?
13 When the elders become aware of serious wrongdoing in the congregation, they prayerfully seek “wisdom from above” so that they can get Jehovah’s view on the situation. (Jas. 3:17) Their goal is to help the one who is sinning to turn “back from the error of his way” if possible. (Jas. 5:19, 20) They also want to do everything they can to protect the congregation and to comfort those who have been hurt. (2 Cor. 1:3, 4) When handling cases of serious wrongdoing, the elders must first get all the facts, which may take some time. Then they prayerfully and carefully provide counsel from the Scriptures and apply correction “to the proper degree.” (Jer. 30:11) Although they do not procrastinate, the elders do not rush to judgment. When matters are handled properly, the congregation will see the greatest good come to all. Yet, even when problems are cared for in this manner, an innocent person may still feel hurt. If this is true of you, what can you do to lessen the pain?
14. What Bible example can help you to cope if you have been severely hurt by another Christian?
14 Have you ever been severely wronged by someone, even by a fellow worshipper? You can find outstanding examples in God’s Word that teach us how to wait on Jehovah to correct matters. For instance, although Joseph suffered injustice at the hands of his own brothers, he did not allow their sins to cause him to become a bitter person. Instead, he remained focused on his service to Jehovah, who richly rewarded him for his patient endurance. (Gen. 39:21) Over time, Joseph was able to look past the hurt he had experienced and see how Jehovah had blessed him. (Gen. 45:5) Like Joseph, we are comforted when we draw close to Jehovah and leave justice in his hands.—Ps. 7:17; 73:28.
15. What helped one sister to put an injustice behind her?
15 Of course, not all injustices are as serious as those Joseph experienced, but bad treatment of some kind may still cause us heartache. When we have a problem with someone, including someone who does not worship Jehovah, we will benefit if we apply Bible principles. (Phil. 2:3, 4) Consider one experience. A sister was deeply hurt when she discovered that a coworker was making negative, untrue comments about her to others. Rather than react too quickly, the sister took time to reflect on Jesus’ example. When he was insulted, he did not insult others in return. (1 Pet. 2:21, 23) With that in mind, she decided not to make an issue of what had happened. Later, she learned that her coworker had been coping with a serious health problem and was experiencing a lot of stress. The sister concluded that the coworker likely did not mean what she had said. So the sister was especially glad that she had patiently endured the mistreatment, and she found peace.
16. What can be of comfort if you are enduring an injustice? (1 Peter 3:12)
16 If you are enduring an injustice or some other cause for hurt, remember that Jehovah draws close to “the brokenhearted.” (Ps. 34:18) He loves you for your patience and for throwing your burden on him. (Ps. 55:22) He is the Judge of all the earth. Nothing escapes his notice. (Read 1 Peter 3:12.) When you are undergoing difficulties that you cannot resolve, are you willing to wait on him?
ENDLESS BLESSINGS FOR THOSE WHO WAIT ON JEHOVAH
17. As recorded at Isaiah 30:18, what assurance does Jehovah give us?
17 Soon our heavenly Father will bless us richly by means of his Kingdom. Isaiah 30:18 says: “Jehovah is waiting patiently to show you favor, and he will rise up to show you mercy. For Jehovah is a God of justice. Happy are all those keeping in expectation of him.” Those who keep in expectation of Jehovah will receive many blessings both now and in the new world to come.
18. What blessings await us?
18 When God’s people enter into the new world, they will never again have to endure the anxieties and the challenges that they must face today. Injustice will be gone, and pain will be no more. (Rev. 21:4) We will not have to wait anxiously for what we need because there will be an abundance. (Ps. 72:16; Isa. 54:13) What a blessing that will be!
19. What is Jehovah gradually preparing us for now?
19 In the meantime, with every bad habit we conquer and every godly quality we develop, Jehovah is preparing us for life under his rulership. Do not lose heart, and do not give up. The best is yet to come! With a bright future ahead of us, may we continue to wait willingly and patiently on Jehovah as he completes his work!
SONG 118 “Give Us More Faith”
Have you ever heard a longtime servant of Jehovah say, ‘I never expected that at my age I would still be living in this system of things’? All of us are eager to see Jehovah bring the end, especially in these difficult times. Yet, we must learn to be patient. In this article, we will look at Bible principles that can help us to have a waiting attitude. We will also examine two areas in which we must patiently wait on Jehovah. Finally, we will consider the blessings that are in store for those who are willing to wait.
PICTURE DESCRIPTION: From childhood on, a sister has been regularly praying to Jehovah. When she was little, her parents taught her how to pray. As a teenager, she began serving as a pioneer and often asked Jehovah to bless her ministry. Years later, when her husband became very ill, she supplicated Jehovah for the strength needed to endure this trial. Today, as a widow, she perseveres in prayer, confident that her heavenly Father will answer her prayers—just as he has done throughout her life.