Finding Hope in a World Full of Distress

“PRIVATE citizens have more power to do public good and solve common problems than ever before in human history.” Former U.S. President Bill Clinton made that statement during a conference in Ottawa, Canada, in March 2006. He concluded that a trend of international goodwill has been developing since the 2004 tsunami and said, with a hint of optimism, that the world is now at “a time of unprecedented interdependence.”

Can we expect natural disasters to rally people everywhere to work for a better future? Is “unprecedented interdependence” a reliable basis for hope in a future of true peace and lasting security?

Source of True Hope

The long record of mankind’s efforts over more than six millenniums demonstrates that humans repeatedly let one another down. For good reason, then, the inspired Scriptures advise us: “Do not put your trust in nobles, nor in the son of earthling man, to whom no salvation belongs.”  (Psalm 146:3) Fixing our hope on this world’s organizations, its material things, and its dreams leads only to disappointment. Why? Because “the world is passing away and so is its desire.”​—1 John 2:17.

Throughout the centuries, however, God has been the unfailing hope of righteous humans. The Bible calls him “the hope of [ancient] Israel” and “the hope of [Israel’s] forefathers,” and many are the expressions of hope, trust, and confidence in him. (Jeremiah 14:8; 17:13; 50:7) Indeed, the Scriptures encourage us to “hope in Jehovah.”​—Psalm 27:14.

Proverbs 3:5, 6 urges us: “Trust in Jehovah with all your heart and do not lean upon your own understanding. In all your ways take notice of him, and he himself will make your paths straight.” You have every reason to put full confidence in such a promise because Jehovah God is unchanging, dependable, and true to his word. (Malachi 3:6; James 1:17) He wants what is best for you, and if you always heed what is said in his Word, the Bible, it will guide you successfully through these fearful times.​—Isaiah 48:17, 18.

A person who wholeheartedly follows God’s guidance can rely on this promise: “Do not be afraid, for I am with you. Do not gaze about, for I am your God. I will fortify you. I will really help you. I will really keep fast hold of you with my right hand of righteousness.” (Isaiah 41:10) Fervent prayer along with meditation on this assurance is very comforting to all those who truly love Jehovah God, for it helps them to cope with difficult circumstances and anxieties.

Consider Andrea, one of Jehovah’s Witnesses and the mother of two children. She says: “Only by prayer and meditation on the promises of Jehovah do I have the strength to rebound when periods of uncertainty arise in my life. If I keep Jehovah as the one constant in my life, it is much easier to maintain stability.”

Fortify Your Hope in Jehovah

Highlighting the importance of hoping in Jehovah, one psalmist said: “Abundant peace belongs to those loving your law, and for them there is no stumbling block.” (Psalm 119:165) A sincere study of God’s Word can do much to fill your mind and heart with spiritually wholesome and positive ‘things that are true, of serious concern, righteous, chaste, lovable, well spoken of, virtuous, and praiseworthy.’ If you make a conscientious effort to hear, learn, accept, and practice such things, “the God of peace will be with you.”​—Philippians 4:8, 9.

Speaking from decades of personal experience, John says: “For my feelings about the future to change, it was important to learn that a drastic change in my personality and thinking was required before I could hope to build a relationship with a perfect, invisible God. The only way I could forge that relationship was by becoming a spiritual person. That involved a change to being God-oriented, having God’s mind on matters by reading his inspired Word and meditating on it.”

If you drink in the refreshing, life-giving waters of truth contained in the inspired Scriptures, you will be applying a true and tested prescription to counteract the endless barrage of bad things daily presented through the media. Applying what is said in the Bible can also strengthen your family bonds and help to minimize anxiety. Moreover, God promises that he is ready to “show his strength in behalf of those whose heart is complete toward him.” (2 Chronicles 16:9) He will work out matters in such a way that you really have nothing to fear.

Phinehas, who has lived through war and mass killings, says: “I have learned to put my  life in Jehovah’s caring hands. Adhering to Bible principles has spared me many problems.” If you really trust in Jehovah God, he can help you to scale any wall of adversity. (Psalm 18:29) A young child who bonds with his parents comes to trust them fully and feels secure in their care even when he is sick or troubled in some way. A similar feeling can be yours if you reach out and accept the invitation to hope in Jehovah.​—Psalm 37:34.

A Sure Foundation for Hope

Jesus Christ told his followers: “You must pray . . . this way: ‘Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified. Let your kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth.’” (Matthew 6:9, 10) That heavenly Kingdom​—a government in the hands of Jesus Christ—​is God’s means of expressing His rightful sovereignty over the earth.​—Psalm 2:7-12; Daniel 7:13, 14.

The many facets of fear that affect every aspect of life today are a clear indication that divine intervention is needed. Happily, that intervention is near! Now enthroned by God as Messianic King, Jesus Christ is entrusted with authority to vindicate Jehovah’s sovereignty and sanctify His name. (Matthew 28:18) Soon, Kingdom rule will be directed to the earth to do away with all causes of fear and anxiety. Isaiah 9:6 cites credentials that show Jesus to be a worthy Ruler who can relieve us of our fears. For instance, he is called “Eternal Father,” “Wonderful Counselor,” and “Prince of Peace.”

Consider the endearing expression “Eternal Father.” As such, Jesus has the power and authority​—as well as the desire—​to give obedient humans the prospect of eternal life on earth by the merit of his ransom sacrifice. This means that they will finally be released from sin and imperfection inherited from the sinful first man, Adam. (Matthew 20:28; Romans 5:12; 6:23) Christ will also apply his God-given authority to bring back to life many who have died.​—John 11:25, 26.

When on earth, Jesus proved to be the “Wonderful Counselor.” Because of his knowledge of God’s Word and his extraordinary understanding of human nature, Jesus knew how to solve the problems of daily life. Since his enthronement in heaven, Christ continues to be the “Wonderful Counselor,” serving as the principal figure in Jehovah’s channel of communication to mankind. Jesus’ counsel, recorded in the Bible, is always wise and flawless. Knowing and believing this can lead you to a life free of uncertainty and paralyzing fear.

Isaiah 9:6 also identifies Jesus as the “Prince of Peace.” In that capacity, Christ will soon use his power to remove all inequality​—political, social, and economic. How? By bringing mankind under the one peaceful rule of the Messianic Kingdom.​—Daniel 2:44.

Under Kingdom rule, lasting peace will prevail earth wide. Why can you be sure of this? The reason is revealed at Isaiah 11:9, where we read: “They [the Kingdom’s subjects] will not do any harm or cause any ruin in all my holy mountain; because the earth will certainly be filled with the knowledge of Jehovah as the waters are covering the very sea.” Eventually, every human on earth will have accurate knowledge of God and will be obedient to him. Does that prospect warm your heart? If it does, do not delay in taking in the precious “knowledge of Jehovah.”

You can avail yourself of the faith-building and life-giving knowledge of God by examining what the Bible really teaches about events of our day and the bright future promised in the Bible. We therefore urge you to avail yourself of the free Bible study program that Jehovah’s Witnesses offer in your community. This is a way to allay fear and find true hope in a world full of distress.

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Why the Kingdom Government Inspires Hope

Jesus Christ, as King of God’s Kingdom, has been granted the ability and the right to exercise power universally. (Matthew 28:18) He will restore the earth’s ecology to perfect balance. He also has mastery over sickness and disease. The powerful works Jesus performed on earth were foregleams of even grander blessings to come under his rule as a perfect and trustworthy King. What qualities of this Messianic King listed below especially appeal to you?

Approachable.​Mark 10:13-16.

Reasonable and impartial.​Mark 10:35-45.

Responsible and unselfish.​Matthew 4:5-7; Luke 6:19.

Righteous and just.​Isaiah 11:3-5; John 5:30; 8:16.

Thoughtful, considerate, and humble.​John 13:3-15.

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Bible reading and meditation can instill in us hope in Jehovah