Drawing Close To Jehovah During Trying Times
Comments shared with Bethel Family members on Wednesday, September 26, 2001
The recent tragedy in New York City has had a worldwide impact. Thousands have died. People are traumatized. No one in the “world” knows what will happen next. But we do; Gods word tells us. More than ever, our relationship with Jehovah needs to be strong. One reporter asked, ‘What will tomorrow bring?’ How appropriate it is for all of Jehovah’s people to stay close to our God and the organization. We must do as James 4.8 says now: “Draw close to God, and he will draw close to you.”
Knowing the truth about Jehovah and his being our refuge allows us to help others. Psalm 46:1,11, says, “God is for us a refuge and strength, A help that is readily to be found during distresses. Jehovah… is a secure height for us.”
The Governing Body received a report from the United States Branch Committee on the September 11th disaster. It is impossible at this time to know exactly how many of our brothers and sisters lost their lives. We think of all those men and women who have worked so hard in trying to rescue any survivors… Bethel provided first aid and hospitality to several that came over from Manhattan. Food was provided from 90 Sands for the Police and other workers. Cutting equipment was supplied to the fire department for use in the rescue work, also food, water, socks, and aspirin.
A meeting was held with NYC area traveling overseers on Friday, September 14, 2001.
Direction was given on how to render assistance and comfort to those affected, including those who were injured, bereaved, and mourning.
A letter was sent to all congregations encouraging the use of the Bible. Many are asking: ‘Why did this disaster occur?, Why has God permitted this suffering?’ The clergy have not been able to satisfy the real need of the people. God’s people find great comfort from the scriptures, such as 2 Corinthians 1: 3, 4 where it describes our ‘Father of tender mercies… who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort…” others who are suffering tribulation
We want to help people look to the truth—the only real hope, as Jeremiah 29:11,12, tells us. “‘For I myself well know the thoughts that I am thinking toward YOU,’ is the utterance of Jehovah, ‘thoughts of peace, and not of calamity, to give YOU a future and a hope. And YOU will certainly call me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to YOU.’
Other scriptures that we could use to comfort the people we meet in our territories are those such as James 1:13, “When under trial, let no one say: “I am being tried by God.” For with evil things God cannot be tried nor does he himself try anyone.” There are timely messages in many recent articles, such as Terrorism (g01 5/22), Post-traumatic Stress (g01 8/22),
This is so needed as people are saddened and shocked. Jesus felt pity for the people and wept with them. Jehovah provided so much to help us and others through the literature. Have the same love Jehovah and Jesus have for people. We should weep with those who are suffering. Romans 12:15 says to “Rejoice with people who rejoice; weep with people who weep.”
An experience was received regarding a witness who was asked the question , ‘Why didn’t God just make the plane plunge into the water?’ Then the person said, ‘I shouldn’t have said that, I am all mixed up.’ She accepted some literature and asked for more. It turns out that she is a grief counselor for the NYC police department and wanted the literature to help others. Over 75 pieces of literature were placed with her.
“The scene of this world is changing”—1 Corinthians 7:31 We need more compassion than ever before.
A reporter in the NY Times described recent events as ‘a diabolic act’. Diabolic means having characteristics of the devil; satanic.” The scene of the world is changing for the worse. Many in the Bethel family saw events from their windows.
Though we are no part of the world, we are affected since we are still in the world and experience tribulations. We have a reassuring hope. With Jehovah we are safe. Psalm 91:1,2, says, “Anyone dwelling in the secret place of the Most High Will procure himself lodging under the very shadow of the Almighty One. I will say to Jehovah: “[You are] my refuge and my stronghold, My God, in whom I will trust.”
We must trust in Jehovah, but there are degrees of trust as seen in Proverbs 3:5. We must trust in God with all our heart . Proverbs 3:5,6, “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.”
We have a comforting work to do, just as Isaiah did. In Isaiah 61:1,2, the prophet said, “…for the reason that Jehovah has anointed me to tell good news to the meek ones. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to those taken captive and the wide opening [of the eyes] even to the prisoners; to proclaim the year of goodwill on the part of Jehovah and the day of vengeance on the part of our God; to comfort all the mourning ones;” The first application of these words is to Jesus Christ. The second application is to the anointed, and the third, by extension, is to the great crowd. There are three phases that we want to isolate: 1. Tell good news; 2. Bind up the broken hearted; 3. Comfort all the morning ones
Show hope in the future. The bible should as always be our focus. Use it in the ministry. Jehovah has provided his word to provide comfort to his people. Romans 15:4 says, “For all the things that were written aforetime were written for our instruction, that through our endurance and through the comfort from the Scriptures we might have hope.”
The Bible exerts power and reaches the heart. Many experiences were reported. A member of the Branch Committee spoke to a man who said that he had never spoken to Witnesses. He belongs to the Riverside Church. Yet when some scriptures were shown him, he said ‘that is what I believe, maybe I should be one of Jehovah’s Witnesses.” Doesn’t this remind us of King Agrippa when talking to Paul who said in a short time you may convince me to become a Christian. People may be ready to make quick changes because of the recent events.
A Patterson Bethelite shared 2 Cor. 1:3-7 with a man who paused to actually put on his glasses, so that he could follow the reading. The man is the president of a football team. He said that he would share the Awake! on Post-traumatic Stress (g01 8/22) with the team, and then thanked us for the work that we do.
Some selected elders were assigned to provide comfort to the area surrounding “Ground Zero”. This included the hospitals and relief centers. Some of which were even allowed to go beyond the barriers in order to provide counseling.
On Friday evening, in a restaurant in Richfield, Connecticut, an upscale area with several residents working on Wall St) the manager asked everyone to go outside as the President had asked for a moment of silence and prayer.. Once outside he asked a witness working there to say a prayer. The brother prayed in behalf of the victims and their families and friends. He included words of hope and the need for peace and the knowledge of God. Afterwards, he was hugged by all present, each saying, ‘That was the best prayer I have ever heard.’
Many areas that didn’t listen in the past are now listening and responding with words like, ‘thank you for coming, please come back.’ Psalm 72:12-14 was shared with a woman, she listened and then when the sisters offered her a Bible study, she accepted. This approach worked so well for the sisters that they tried it at the next door – with the same results. Psalm 72:12-14, “For he will deliver the poor one crying for help, Also the afflicted one and whoever has no helper. He will feel sorry for the lowly one and the poor one, And the souls of the poor ones he will save. From oppression and from violence he will redeem their soul, And their blood will be precious in his eyes.”
Even in places like Germany, Poland, and Britain people are listening to the Bible. To keep up with the demand on placements, Bethel had to print some 3 million more of the tract, Comfort for the Depressed (T-20 2), and some 3 million copies of the magazines on Terrorism (g01 5/22), Post-traumatic Stress (g01 8/22), and more copies of the brochure Will There Ever Be a World Without War? (wi 3). Proverbs 3:27, “Do not hold back good from those to whom it is owing, when it happens to be in the power of your hand to do [it].”
Another good scripture for service: Psalm 37:9-11, “For evildoers themselves will be cut off, But those hoping in Jehovah are the ones that will possess the earth. And just a little while longer, and the wicked one will be no more; And you will certainly give attention to his place, and he will not be. But the meek ones themselves will possess the earth, And they will indeed find their exquisite delight in the abundance of peace.”
A Russian newspaper had on its cover pictures of the Twin Tower disaster with the bolded word, in Russian: ARMAGEDDON. Though the article quoted from Rev. 16:16-19, it did not mention the inspired expressions coming from the mouth of the wild beast. It also stated, ‘yesterday… no more world powers… nothing more to rely on… we come to a dead end… all records have been broken… we are in a world crisis.’
Our brothers in Russia now than ever before, have an excellent opportunity to use their Bibles in the ministry.
In this time of the end, Titus 2:12 urges us to repudiate ungodliness and worldly desires and to live with soundness of mind and righteousness and godly devotion amid the present system of things. And may
Jehovah strengthen us with his holy spirit as we faithfully serve him now, and throughout all eternity.