“The God of all comfort . . . comforts us in all our trials.”
1, 2. How does Jehovah comfort us in our trials, and what promise do we find in his Word?
A YOUNG single brother had been thinking about 1 Corinthians 7:28, which says that those who marry “will have tribulation in their flesh.” The brother spoke to an older married elder and asked him: “What is this ‘tribulation,’ and how would I deal with it if I marry?” Before answering the question, the elder told the young brother to think about something else that the apostle Paul wrote: Jehovah is “the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our trials,” or tribulations.
2 We know that Jehovah, our Father, loves us, and he comforts us when we have difficulties. You may remember certain times when Jehovah supported and guided you by means of his Word. We can be sure that he wants the best for us, as he did for his servants in the past.
3. What questions will we answer in this article?
3 Usually, it is easier to endure problems and tribulations when we know what has caused them. So why might we have tribulation in our marriage or in our family? And what examples from Bible times and from our time can help us find the comfort we need? Let us answer these questions and see how we can endure trials.
PROBLEMS IN MARRIAGE
4, 5. What tribulations might a husband and wife have?
4 After Jehovah created the first woman, he brought her to the man, and she became his wife. Then Jehovah said: “A man will leave his father and his mother and he will stick to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24) Of course, all of us today are imperfect. (Romans 3:23) Because of this, when a man and woman get married, they can expect to have problems. For example, before getting married, a woman likely had to obey her parents. But God’s Word says that after marriage a husband becomes the head of his wife. (1 Corinthians 11:3) At first, the husband may find it difficult to give direction to his wife. And the wife may find it difficult to accept direction from her husband instead of from her parents. Also, when a couple first get married, they may have disagreements with their in-laws, and this too may be a trial.
5 Think, too, about how a husband and wife may feel when they find out they are going to have a baby. Although they may be very happy, usually they are also anxious. They may wonder whether the pregnancy will go well, and they may worry about the baby’s health. They also know that their expenses will increase. After the child is born, the couple will need to make other adjustments. The mother may spend most of her time caring for the baby. So the husband and wife may not be able to focus as much on each other as they did before. The father will also have more responsibilities. He has to make sure that his wife and child both have what they need.
6-8. How may a married couple feel if they cannot have children?
6 Some married couples have another type of tribulation. They desperately want to have children, but they are not able to. When the wife does not become pregnant, she may feel deep emotional pain. (Proverbs 13:12) In Bible times, it was very important for women to marry and have children. That is why Rachel, Jacob’s wife, felt extremely depressed when she could not get pregnant although her sister did. (Genesis 30:1, 2) In some countries today, many believe that it is very important to have a lot of children. People often ask missionaries living in those countries why they do not have any. Even after the missionaries try to explain the reason as best they can, some still say, “Oh, we will pray for you!”
7 Consider another example. A sister in England always wanted to have children. When she realized that she would not be able to have children in this system, she felt devastated. Then she and her husband decided to adopt a child. But she still grieved for some time. She said, “I knew that adoption would not be exactly the same as giving birth to my own child.”
8 The Bible says that a woman “will be kept safe through childbearing.” (1 Timothy 2:15) But this does not mean that she will get everlasting life just because she has children. So, what does this verse mean? A mother is very busy caring for her children and home. That can help her avoid such things as gossiping or getting involved in things that do not concern her. (1 Timothy 5:13) Even so, she may still have problems in her marriage and family.
Jehovah has made many promises that comfort us during difficult times
9. What other tribulation may married people have?
9 Among the tribulations that some married people may have is the death of their mate. Even though they may have thought that this would never happen to them, many have had to endure this very difficult situation. Christians firmly believe in the promise of the resurrection, and this gives them much comfort. (John 5:28, 29) In his Word, our Father, Jehovah, has made many promises that comfort us during difficult times. Now let us see how some of Jehovah’s servants have felt that comfort and how it has helped them.
COMFORT WHEN WE SUFFER TRIALS
10. How was Hannah comforted? (See opening picture.)
10 Consider what happened to Hannah, Elkanah’s beloved wife. She wanted to have children but could not. However, her husband’s other wife, Peninnah, had many children. (Read 1 Samuel 1:4-7.) To make matters worse, Peninnah would make fun of Hannah “year after year” because of this. That hurt Hannah very much. What did she do to find comfort? She prayed to Jehovah. Hannah even went to Jehovah’s place of worship and prayed for a long time. She asked Jehovah to give her a son, and she trusted that He would help her. After she finished praying, she felt much better and “her face was no longer downcast.” (1 Samuel 1:12, 17, 18) She knew that Jehovah would either give her a son or comfort her in some other way.
11. How can prayer comfort us?
11 Since we are imperfect and live in Satan’s world, we will continue to have trials. (1 John 5:19) But we have help. We can pray to Jehovah, “the God of all comfort.” That is what Hannah did. She told Jehovah exactly how she felt and begged him for help. In a similar way, when we are suffering, we should do more than simply mention our problems to Jehovah. We need to beg him for help and tell him exactly how we feel.
12. What helped Anna to be happy despite her trials?
12 We may feel deep sadness because we do not have children or because someone we love has died. But we can still find comfort. Consider the example of Anna, who lived in Jesus’ day. After she had been married for only seven years, her husband died. And it seems that she did not have any children. But what helped her? “She was never missing from the temple.” Even when Anna was 84 years old, she was still going to the temple to pray and to worship Jehovah. (Luke 2:37) That is what comforted her and helped her to be happy despite her trials.
13. How can true friends comfort us if our relatives disappoint us?
13 We can also find comfort from the true friends we make in the congregation. (Proverbs 18:24) Paula was only five years old when her mother stopped serving Jehovah. Paula was very sad, and things were difficult for her. But then a pioneer sister named Ann encouraged her and took a loving interest in her. “Even though Ann was not related to me, I found her loving concern to be such a help,” Paula explains. “It helped me to keep serving Jehovah.” Since then, Paula’s mother has returned to the congregation, and this makes Paula very happy. Ann too is happy that she could help Paula to continue serving Jehovah.
14. How do we benefit when we comfort others?
14 When we are busy doing good things for other people, we often forget about our own problems. For example, many sisters, married or unmarried, know that when they share the good news of the Kingdom with others, they are working with Jehovah and are doing his will. This makes them happy. In fact, all of us can show concern for others by sharing the good news with them. And when we do kind things for our brothers and sisters, we draw closer to them. (Philippians 2:4) That is what the apostle Paul did. He cared for others just as “a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children.” Paul also comforted and encouraged his brothers “just as a father does his children.”
COMFORT IN THE FAMILY
15. Who have the responsibility to teach young ones about Jehovah?
15 How can we comfort families in the congregation? At times, new ones might ask us to help them teach their children about Jehovah or even to study the Bible with their young ones. The Bible shows that Jehovah gives parents the responsibility to teach and train their children. (Proverbs 23:22; Ephesians 6:1-4) Although in some cases others may help, it is very important for parents to teach their children themselves. Parents need to talk with their children regularly.
Parents need to talk with their children regularly
16. What should we remember when we are helping children?
16 When a parent asks us to study the Bible with his or her child, it is good to remember that we do not have the same authority as the parent. Sometimes we may even study with a child whose parents are not in the truth. When we study with children who are not our own, it would be wise to study in their home when their parents or another mature Witness is around or to study in a public place. In this way, we will not give anyone the wrong impression. And in time, perhaps the parents themselves will be able to teach their children about Jehovah.
17. How can children comfort others in the family?
17 Young ones who have learned to love Jehovah can comfort and encourage their family members. How so? By respecting their parents and working hard to help them in practical ways. Also, when children stay faithful to Jehovah, this is encouraging to the entire family. Before the Flood, Lamech worshipped Jehovah. He said about his son Noah: “This one will bring us comfort from our labor and from the painful toil of our hands because of the ground that Jehovah has cursed.” That prophecy was fulfilled after the Flood when Jehovah removed the curse from the ground. (Genesis 5:29; 8:21) Today, children who remain faithful to Jehovah can also comfort their family. They can help everyone in the family to endure trials now and in the future.
18. What can help us to endure despite any trials?
18 Jehovah’s people today are finding comfort through prayer, meditation on Bible examples, and close friendship with their brothers and sisters. (Read Psalm 145:18, 19.) We know that Jehovah is always ready to comfort us, and he will surely help us to endure any trials we may have!