WHEN Anita became one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, her husband was extremely upset. * (See footnote.) He tried to stop her from going to meetings and ordered her never to say God’s name. Just hearing her say the name Jehovah would make him very angry.
In addition, Anita’s husband did not want her to teach their children about Jehovah or take them to meetings. This was very difficult for her because she had to try to help their children without him knowing about it.
As Anita’s experience shows, someone in your family might try to stop you from serving Jehovah. Or you might have another difficult situation. Perhaps you have been sick for a long time. Maybe your child, husband, or wife has died. Or perhaps a family member whom you love has left Jehovah. In these situations, what can you do to stay faithful to Jehovah?
The apostle Paul said: “You need endurance.” (Hebrews 10:36) So, what can help you to endure?
PRAY TO JEHOVAH FOR HELP
When you are suffering, remember that you need to rely on Jehovah to help you endure. Pray to him for help. That is what Ana did when her husband died suddenly. They had been married for 30 years. Ana says: “He never returned home from work. He was only 52 years old.”
Ana’s job kept her busy, but it did not take away her pain. What did she do? She says: “I poured out my heart to Jehovah and begged him to help me.” She knows that Jehovah helped her because after she would pray, she felt peaceful and calm. And she says: “I have no doubt that Jehovah will bring my husband back in the resurrection.”
Jehovah promises his servants that he will hear their prayers. (Psalm 65:2) And he will give them everything they need to continue serving him. Jehovah will help you to be faithful to him even in difficult situations.
STAY CLOSE TO YOUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS
There is another way Jehovah helps us to endure. He has given us our brothers and sisters in the congregation. We can learn from the way the brothers in Thessalonica helped one another when they were being cruelly persecuted. During that time, they especially needed to keep encouraging one another. (1 Thessalonians 2:14; 5:11) They helped their brothers and sisters to keep faithful to Jehovah by meeting together and being close friends. What can we do to stay faithful like those in Thessalonica?
We need to make close friends in the congregation and encourage one another, especially during difficult times. (Romans 14:19) The apostle Paul suffered because of persecution and other problems, but Jehovah gave him the strength to endure. For example, Jehovah provided brothers and sisters to encourage Paul. The apostle said about his friends: “They have become a source of great comfort to me.” (Colossians 4:10, 11) These brothers loved Paul. So when he needed help, they comforted and encouraged him. Perhaps you can think of times when brothers and sisters in your congregation said or did something that encouraged you.
ASK THE ELDERS TO HELP YOU
Jehovah has also given you the elders in the congregation. These men can encourage you and give you good advice from the Bible. They are “like a hiding place from the wind, a place of concealment from the rainstorm, like streams of water in a waterless land, like the shadow of a massive crag in a parched land.” (Isaiah 32:2) It comforts us to know that these brothers are ready to help us. So when times are difficult, go to the elders. They can help you to keep serving Jehovah.
Of course, the elders cannot solve all of your problems. And they are imperfect like you. (Acts 14:15) But you can feel better when you go to an elder and he prays to Jehovah about your problem. (James 5:14, 15) For example, the elders encouraged a brother in Italy who has been suffering for many years with a serious health problem. In fact, he said: “The brothers’ love and affection along with their frequent visits have helped me to endure.” If you are suffering, Jehovah wants you to ask the elders to help you.
FOCUS ON SERVING JEHOVAH
When we focus on serving Jehovah, we will see how Jehovah helps us. That is what John did. When he was 39 years old, he found out that he had a rare cancer. He felt that it was unfair that he was so sick, especially since he was so young. And he worried about his wife and their son, who was only three years old. He says: “My wife not only had to look after our young child but also had to care for me, as well as help me with all my medical appointments.” Because of the medical treatments, he felt very tired and had stomach problems. And that was not all. John found out that his father was dying and needed someone to take care of him.
What helped John and his family during that difficult time? Even though John often felt tired, he made sure that his family kept focused on serving Jehovah. He says: “We attended all the meetings, had a weekly share in the ministry, and had regular family worship even when it was difficult.” John learned how important it was to keep his relationship with Jehovah strong. Although at first he was shocked and worried, he soon felt much calmer. He knew that Jehovah loved him and gave him the strength he needed. Jehovah can help you in the same way when you are worried or afraid. John says: “Jehovah can make you strong, just as he has me.”
When you are suffering, remember Paul’s words: “You need endurance.” Rely on Jehovah by praying to him. Stay close to your brothers in the congregation, ask the elders for help, and keep focused on your worship to Jehovah. He will help you with any problem you might have now or with whatever difficulty might come in the future.
^ par. 2 Some names have been changed.