“Trust in him at all times, O people.”
1-3. Why was Paul convinced that he could trust in Jehovah? (See opening picture.)
IF YOU were a Christian in Rome in the first century, you would have been living at a dangerous time. The Christians were being cruelly persecuted by the Romans. The Romans blamed them for starting a large fire in Rome and accused them of hating people. Many of your Christian brothers and sisters were being arrested. Some were torn to pieces by animals. Others were nailed to poles and then burned alive to light up the night sky. Each day you knew that any one of these things might happen to you.
2 During this very difficult time, the apostle Paul was put in prison. He may have wondered whether his Christian brothers would help him, because he remembered an earlier situation when nobody did. But Paul had received help from Jehovah through the Lord Jesus. He wrote: “The Lord stood near me and infused power into me.” Jesus gave Paul the power that he needed. Paul even wrote that he “was rescued from the lion’s mouth.”
3 Paul remembered how Jehovah had helped him in the past. So he was convinced that Jehovah would give him the strength he needed to endure the situation he was in now as well as any future trials. He was so sure of this that he wrote: “The Lord will rescue me from every wicked work.” (2 Timothy 4:18) Paul had learned that even in situations in which his brothers were not able to help him, he could always trust in Jehovah and Jesus for help. There was no doubt in his mind.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR US TO TRUST IN JEHOVAH
4, 5. (a) Who can always give you the help you need? (b) How can you make your relationship with Jehovah stronger?
4 Have you ever had a difficult problem and felt alone, with no one to help you? Maybe you lost your job or had pressures at school. Maybe you were very sick or had some other difficult trial. You may have asked other people for help but were disappointed because they did not give you the help you needed. Of course, some problems are impossible for humans to solve. What will you do then? The Bible tells us to “trust in Jehovah.” (Proverbs 3:5, 6) But can you be sure that he will help you? Yes! We can read about many examples in the Bible that convince us that Jehovah really does help his people.
A trial gives us an opportunity to trust in Jehovah completely
5 Do not feel bitter when people do not give you the help you need. Instead, like Paul, think of the trial as an opportunity to trust in Jehovah completely. It is also an opportunity to see in your own life how he cares for you. Your trust in Jehovah and your relationship with him will then become stronger.
WE NEED TO TRUST IN JEHOVAH
6. Why might it not be easy to trust in Jehovah when we have a difficult problem?
6 You may have a difficult problem that upsets you. You have done everything you can about the situation, and you have prayed to Jehovah for help. Can you now feel calm because you trust that he will help you? Yes, you can! (Read Psalm 62:8; 1 Peter 5:7.) If you want to have a good relationship with Jehovah, it is important for you to learn to trust in him. But doing this is not always easy. Why? One reason is that Jehovah may not answer your prayer right away.
Jehovah, our Father in heaven, loves us and knows what we need
7. Why does Jehovah not always answer our prayers right away?
7 Why does Jehovah not always answer our prayers right away? The Bible says that Jehovah is our Father and we are his children. (Psalm 103:13) A human father does not give his child everything he asks for or give it to him right away. A father knows that a child might suddenly want something and then not want it anymore. A father also knows what is best for his child, and he knows how it might affect others. He knows what the child needs and when he should get it. If the father gave the child everything he asked for right away, the father would become the child’s servant. Jehovah, our Father in heaven, loves us. As our wise Creator, he knows what we need and he decides when is the best time to give us what we ask for. It is good for us to wait and see how Jehovah answers our prayers.
8. What does Jehovah promise about what we are able to endure?
8 Remember, too, that Jehovah knows what each person can and cannot endure. (Psalm 103:14) So he gives us the strength we need. It is true that sometimes we may feel that we cannot go on anymore. But Jehovah promises that if the trial becomes too much for us to endure, he will “make the way out.” (Read 1 Corinthians 10:13.) It is comforting to know that we can trust that Jehovah knows just how much we are able to endure.
9. What should we do if we pray for help from Jehovah but he does not answer us right away?
9 If we pray for help from Jehovah but he does not answer us right away, let us be patient. Remember that Jehovah is eager to help us, but he waits patiently for the best time to give us what we need. The Bible tells us: “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.”
“THE LION’S MOUTH”
10-12. (a) What might make it difficult to care for a sick family member? (b) When you trust in Jehovah during difficult times, how will this affect your relationship with him? Give an example.
10 Your situation might be so difficult for you that you feel like Paul and need to be saved from “the lion’s mouth.” (2 Timothy 4:17) During times like these, it is extremely important that you trust in Jehovah. For example, you might be caring for a sick family member. You have prayed to Jehovah to help you make good decisions and to be strong. * (See footnote.) You can now feel some peace when you remember that Jehovah sees and understands you and your situation. He will help you to endure and be faithful to him.
Trust that your heavenly Father will give you the strength to obey him faithfully
11 Sometimes it may not seem that Jehovah is helping you. Perhaps the doctors do not agree on what should be done. Or you had hoped that your relatives would comfort you, but instead they seem to make things worse. Always rely on Jehovah to give you strength. Keep drawing close to him. (Read 1 Samuel 30:3, 6.) Later, when you realize how Jehovah has helped you, your relationship with him will be stronger.
12 That is how Linda felt. * (See footnote.) She had been taking care of her sick parents for a long time before they died. She says: “While in the situation, my husband, brother, and I often found it hard to know what to do. We felt helpless at times. Looking back, however, we see more clearly how Jehovah proved to be with us. He strengthened us and provided just what we needed, even when it seemed that we had run out of options.”
13. How did trusting in Jehovah help Rhonda endure one tragedy after another?
13 Our complete trust in Jehovah will even help us to endure tragedies. This is what Rhonda experienced. Her husband, who is not one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, was divorcing her. During this same time, her brother found out that he had a very serious illness called lupus. And then, a few months later, her brother’s wife died. When Rhonda started to recover from the shock of these events, she began regular pioneering. But then her mother died. How was Rhonda able to endure these tragedies? She says: “I communicated with Jehovah every day, even with regard to small decisions. Doing so made Jehovah real to me. It taught me to rely on him rather than on myself or even on other people. And the help he gave me was real
14. How can Jehovah help you if a family member is disfellowshipped?
14 Think about another difficult situation. Perhaps someone in your family is disfellowshipped. You know what the Bible says about how to treat disfellowshipped ones. (1 Corinthians 5:11; 2 John 10) But because you love that person, you may feel that it is very hard or even impossible to obey the Bible’s command. Will you trust that your heavenly Father will give you the strength to obey him faithfully? Will you think of this situation as an opportunity to draw closer to Jehovah?
15. Why did Adam disobey Jehovah?
15 How does this compare to the situation of the first man, Adam? Did he believe that he could disobey Jehovah and keep on living? No, Adam “was not deceived.” (1 Timothy 2:14) So why did he disobey Jehovah? Adam ate the fruit that his wife gave him because he loved his wife more than he loved Jehovah. He listened to his wife instead of listening to Jehovah’s command.
16. For whom should our love be the strongest, and why?
16 Adam’s decision teaches us that we should love Jehovah more than we love anyone else. (Read Matthew 22:37, 38.) And when our love for Jehovah is that strong, we can help our relatives in the best way, whether they are serving Jehovah or not. So keep strengthening your love for Jehovah and your trust in him. If you are worried about a disfellowshipped family member, pray to Jehovah and tell him everything that you are feeling. * (See footnote.) (Romans 12:12; Philippians 4:6, 7) Even though you are suffering so much, think of this situation as an opportunity to make your relationship with Jehovah even stronger. Then you will be able to trust in him and know that obeying him will bring the best possible result.
WHILE WE WAIT
17. If we keep busy in the preaching work, what can we trust that Jehovah will do?
17 Why did Jehovah rescue Paul from “the lion’s mouth”? Paul says: “So that through me the preaching might be fully accomplished.” (2 Timothy 4:17) Jehovah has also given us the work of preaching “the good news,” and he calls us his “fellow workers.” (1 Thessalonians 2:4; 1 Corinthians 3:9) If we keep as busy as we can be in this work, we can trust that Jehovah will give us everything we need. (Matthew 6:33) And it will be easier for us to wait for Jehovah to answer our prayers.
18. How can you build trust in Jehovah and make your relationship with him stronger?
18 So use every day to make your relationship with Jehovah stronger. When a trial comes along and you become anxious, use this as an opportunity to draw closer to Jehovah. Read, study, and meditate on God’s Word, the Bible. Keep praying to Jehovah and keep busy serving him. If you do these things, you can trust that Jehovah will help you to endure all your trials now and any that may come in the future.
^ par. 2 Paul may have been saved from real lions or from another dangerous situation.
^ par. 10 Articles have been published to help Christians endure illness and to help the ones who take care of them. See Awake! of February 8, 1994; February 8, 1997; May 22, 2000; and January 22, 2001.
^ par. 12 Names have been changed.