STUDY ARTICLE 46
How Jehovah Helps Us to Endure With Joy
“Jehovah is waiting patiently to show you favor, and he will rise up to show you mercy.”—ISA. 30:18.
SONG 3 Our Strength, Our Hope, Our Confidence
1-2. (a) What questions will we consider? (b) What shows that Jehovah is eager to help us?
JEHOVAH can help us to cope with the challenges in our life and to find joy in our sacred service. In what ways does he help us? And how can we benefit to the full from the help that Jehovah provides? These questions will be answered in this article. However, before we examine the answers, let us consider this related question: Is Jehovah really willing to help us?
2 A word used by the apostle Paul in his letter to the Hebrews can help us to find the answer. Paul wrote: “Jehovah is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” (Heb. 13:6) Bible reference works state that the word “helper,” as used in this verse, refers to a person who runs to the aid of someone crying for help. Picture Jehovah hurrying to rescue someone in distress. You will surely agree that this description highlights Jehovah’s willingness—yes, eagerness—to be our Helper. With Jehovah on our side, we can endure our trials with joy.
3. What are three ways in which Jehovah helps us to endure our trials with joy?
3 What are some ways in which Jehovah helps us to endure our trials with joy? To answer, let us turn to the book of Isaiah. Why? Many of the prophecies Isaiah was inspired to write apply to God’s servants today. Further, Isaiah often describes Jehovah in terms that we can easily understand. Take as an example Isaiah chapter 30. There, in language that creates vivid pictures in our mind, Isaiah describes how Jehovah helps us as his people (1) by listening attentively and responding to our prayers, (2) by providing us with guidance, and (3) by giving us blessings now and in the future. Let us take a closer look at these three ways in which Jehovah helps us.
JEHOVAH LISTENS TO US
4. (a) How did Jehovah describe the Jews of Isaiah’s day, and what did He eventually allow? (b) What hope did Jehovah hold out for faithful ones? (Isaiah 30:18, 19)
4 In the opening words of Isaiah chapter 30, Jehovah describes the Jews as “stubborn sons,” who “add sin to sin.” He continues, saying: “They are a rebellious people, . . . who are unwilling to hear the law of Jehovah.” (Isa. 30:1, 9) Because the people refused to listen, Isaiah foretold that Jehovah would allow them to suffer calamity. (Isa. 30:5, 17; Jer. 25:8-11) And, indeed, they were taken into captivity by the Babylonians. However, there were some faithful ones among the Jews, and Isaiah had a message of hope for them. He told them that one day Jehovah would restore them to favor. (Read Isaiah 30:18, 19.) And that is exactly what happened. Jehovah brought an end to their captivity. However, their deliverance would not come right away. The statement “Jehovah is waiting patiently to show you favor” indicated that some time would pass before the faithful ones would be rescued. In fact, the Israelites spent 70 years in exile in Babylon before a remnant was allowed to return to Jerusalem. (Isa. 10:21; Jer. 29:10) Once the people were back in their homeland, the tears of sorrow they had shed in captivity were replaced by tears of joy.
5. What assurance does Isaiah 30:19 give us?
5 Today we can draw comfort from the words: “He will surely show you favor at the sound of your cry for help.” (Isa. 30:19) Isaiah assures us that Jehovah will listen attentively when we cry out to Him and will respond quickly to our supplications. Isaiah adds: “He will answer you as soon as he hears it.” These reassuring words remind us that our Father is willing—yes, eager—to come to the aid of those who reach out to him. Knowing this helps us to endure with joy.
6. How do Isaiah’s words indicate that Jehovah listens to the prayer of each one of his servants?
6 What additional assurance about our prayers can we draw from this verse? Jehovah gives attention to the prayer of each one of us. Why can we say that? In the first part of Isaiah chapter 30, the pronoun “you” is used in the plural form because Jehovah is addressing his people as a group. However, in verse 19 “you” is used in the singular; the message is addressed to individuals. Isaiah writes: “You will by no means weep”; “he will surely show you favor”; “he will answer you.” As a loving Father, Jehovah does not tell a discouraged son or daughter, “You should be as strong as your brother or sister.” Rather, he views us as individuals and gives our prayers his personal attention.—Ps. 116:1; Isa. 57:15.
7. How do Isaiah and Jesus highlight the need to pray with persistence?
7 When we approach our God about a matter that concerns us, Jehovah’s immediate response may be to give us the strength to cope with the situation. And if our trial does not end as soon as we had hoped, we may need to ask Jehovah repeatedly for the strength to endure it. He invites us to do so. That is implied by these words of Isaiah: “Do not give [Jehovah] any rest.” (Isa. 62:7) What does that mean? Our prayers to Jehovah should be so persistent that it is as if we were not allowing Jehovah to rest. Isaiah’s words remind us of Jesus’ illustrations about prayer found at Luke 11:8-10, 13. There Jesus encourages us to pray with “bold persistence” and to “keep on asking” for holy spirit. We can also beg Jehovah to provide the guidance we need in order to make proper decisions.
JEHOVAH GUIDES US
8. In ancient times, how were the words of Isaiah 30:20, 21 fulfilled?
8 Read Isaiah 30:20, 21. When the Babylonian army laid siege to Jerusalem for a year and a half, the distress that the people experienced became as familiar to them as bread and water. But according to verses 20 and 21, Jehovah promised the Jews that if they repented and changed their behavior, he would come to their rescue. Referring to Jehovah as their “Grand Instructor,” Isaiah promised the people that Jehovah would teach them how to worship Him acceptably. Those words were fulfilled when the Jews were released from captivity. Jehovah proved to be a Grand Instructor for them, and under his guidance, his people succeeded in restoring pure worship. We are blessed to have Jehovah as our Grand Instructor today.
9. What is one way in which we today receive Jehovah’s guidance?
9 Continuing his illustrative language, Isaiah describes us as students who are being taught by Jehovah in two ways. First, Isaiah states: “You will see your Grand Instructor with your own eyes.” In this illustration, the Instructor is depicted as standing in front of his students. We are privileged to benefit from his instruction today. How does Jehovah instruct us? He does so by means of his organization. How thankful we are for the clear guidance we receive from that source! The instruction given at our congregation meetings and conventions as well as through the publications, broadcasts, and many other means helps us during challenging times to endure with joy.
10. In what way do we hear “a word behind [us]”?
10 Isaiah records a second way that Jehovah instructs us, saying: “Your own ears will hear a word behind you.” The prophet here describes Jehovah as an attentive instructor who is walking behind his students, pointing to the way ahead and giving them guidance. Today we hear God’s voice from behind us. How? God’s inspired words were recorded in the Bible long ago, a time far behind us. So when we read the Bible, it is as if we were hearing God’s voice coming from behind us.—Isa. 51:4.
11. To endure with joy, what steps do we need to take, and why?
11 How can we benefit to the full from the guidance Jehovah provides by means of his organization and his Word? Note that Isaiah makes two statements. First, “this is the way.” Second, “walk in it.” (Isa. 30:21) It is not enough to know “the way.” We also need to “walk in it.” By means of Jehovah’s Word, as it is explained by his organization, we learn what Jehovah requires of us. We also learn how to apply what we learn. To endure with joy in our service to Jehovah, we need to take both steps. Only then can we be assured of Jehovah’s blessing.
JEHOVAH BLESSES US
12. Based on Isaiah 30:23-26, how would Jehovah bless his people?
12 Read Isaiah 30:23-26. How was this prophecy fulfilled for the Jews who returned to the land of Israel after the Babylonian captivity? They received abundant blessings—both physical and spiritual. Jehovah blessed his people with an ample supply of physical food. More important, though, he favored them with an abundance of spiritual food as pure worship was gradually restored. The spiritual blessings that God’s people enjoyed at that time vastly exceeded anything they had experienced before. As indicated in verse 26, Jehovah greatly increased the spiritual light. (Isa. 60:2) Jehovah’s blessings helped his servants to keep serving him with joy and inner strength “because of the good condition of the heart.”—Isa. 65:14.
13. How has the prophecy of restoration been fulfilled in our day?
13 Does the prophecy about the restoration of pure worship apply to us today? Absolutely! In what way? Since 1919 C.E., millions of people have broken free from captivity to Babylon the Great, the world empire of false religion. They have been directed to a much better place than Israel’s Promised Land. They have been led to a spiritual paradise. (Isa. 51:3; 66:8) What is that spiritual paradise?
14. What is the spiritual paradise, and who dwell there today? (See Expression Explained.)
14 Since 1919 C.E., the anointed have enjoyed living in a spiritual paradise.b As time has progressed, those with an earthly hope, the “other sheep,” have also settled in this spiritual land and have enjoyed Jehovah’s abundant blessings.—John 10:16; Isa. 25:6; 65:13.
15. Where is the spiritual paradise located?
15 Where is the spiritual land, or paradise, located today? Jehovah’s worshippers can be found in all parts of the earth. Therefore, the spiritual paradise they inhabit also exists throughout the world. So, today, no matter where we live on earth, we can be part of the spiritual paradise as long as we are actively supporting true worship.
16. How can we continue to see the beauty of the spiritual paradise?
16 To remain in the spiritual paradise, we must, among other things, maintain our deep appreciation for the worldwide Christian congregation. How can we do that? By focusing on the beauty, not on the imperfections, of those who inhabit it. (John 17:20, 21) Why is that so important? Think of this comparison. We would expect to see a variety of trees in a beautiful park, or garden. Similarly, the spiritual paradise existing in the congregations today is adorned with a variety of individuals who are compared to trees. (Isa. 44:4; 61:3) We need to make sure that we continue to focus on the beauty of the “forest,” not on the blemishes found on the individual “trees” nearest us. We cannot allow our own imperfections or those of others in the congregation to distract us from the overall beauty of the united worldwide Christian congregation.
17. What can each one of us do to contribute to the unity of the congregation?
17 How are we personally involved in contributing to this unity? By being peacemakers. (Matt. 5:9; Rom. 12:18) Each time we take the initiative to promote peaceful relations with others in the congregation, we add to the beauty of the spiritual paradise. We keep in mind that Jehovah has drawn each of the inhabitants of the spiritual paradise to pure worship. (John 6:44) Imagine how happy Jehovah must be when he sees us working hard to strengthen the peace and unity among those whom he views as precious—his servants!—Isa. 26:3; Hag. 2:7.
18. On what should we often meditate, and why?
18 How can we benefit to the full from the blessings that we receive as God’s servants? We can think deeply about what we study in God’s Word and in our Bible-based publications. Such study and meditation will help us to cultivate Christian qualities that move us to show “brotherly love” and “tender affection for one another” in the congregation. (Rom. 12:10) As we meditate on our current blessings, we strengthen our relationship with Jehovah. And meditating on the blessings that Jehovah has in store for us will keep the hope of serving him forever very real to us. All of this will contribute to our joy in serving Jehovah now.
DETERMINED TO ENDURE
19. (a) According to Isaiah 30:18, of what can we be sure? (b) What will help us to endure with joy?
19 Jehovah “will rise up” in our behalf when he brings an end to this wicked world. (Isa. 30:18) We are confident that Jehovah—“a God of justice”—will not allow Satan’s world to exist for one day longer than justice requires. (Isa. 25:9) We wait patiently with Jehovah for that day of deliverance to arrive. In the meantime, we are determined to continue to treasure the privilege of prayer, to study and apply God’s Word, and to meditate on our blessings. As we do, Jehovah will help us to endure with joy in our worship to him.
SONG 142 Holding Fast to Our Hope
a This article considers three ways in which Jehovah helps his worshippers to endure life’s challenges with joy. We will learn about these forms of help by considering Isaiah chapter 30. As we review this chapter, we will be reminded of the importance of praying to Jehovah, studying his Word, and meditating on our present and future blessings.
b EXPRESSION EXPLAINED: “Spiritual paradise” refers to the secure environment in which we worship Jehovah in unity. In this environment, we have an abundance of spiritual food that is free from religious lies and we have plenty of satisfying work to do in preaching the good news of God’s Kingdom. We enjoy a close relationship with Jehovah, and we live in peace with our loving brothers and sisters, who help us to endure life’s challenges with joy. We enter the spiritual paradise when we begin worshipping Jehovah in the right way and when we do our best to imitate him.