Friday, April 22
Jehovah is near to all those calling on him, to all who call on him in truth.
Put yourself in Asa’s situation. Zerah the Ethiopian has come against Judah with 1,000,000 men and 300 chariots. How would you react to the sight of such a huge army? Outnumbered about 2 to 1, King Asa’s reaction demonstrated his close and trusting relationship with Jehovah. He fervently called out: “Help us, O Jehovah our God, for we are relying on you.” What enabled Asa to trust fully in God’s guidance and protection? The Bible says that “Asa did what was right in the eyes of Jehovah” and that his “heart was complete with Jehovah.” We too need to serve God with a complete heart. It is absolutely vital that we do so if we are to enjoy a close relationship with him now and in the future. How thankful we can be that Jehovah has taken the initiative to draw us to him and to help us to form and maintain a close bond with him!
Jehovah has always taken the initiative to draw us near to him. True, we are a long way from Eden, where God used to stroll through the garden during the breezy part of the day and converse with Adam.
But even in our sinful state the same God has made it possible for us to have a close relationship with him. Now it just takes more effort and faith.
Besides, although Adam enjoyed daily conversations with Jehovah that didn’t prevent him from acting on his own and ruining the precious relationship he briefly had with his Creator. After eating the forbidden fruit Adam actually tried to hide from God and didn’t want to have anything to do with him.
It is not surprising that our relations with God can also become strained —distant, fractured. A guilty conscience may cause us to try to hide from Jehovah too —avoiding any contact with him. We may stop praying and calling upon his name.
In Eden God went looking for Adam and his wife, calling out to them in the garden: “Where are you?”
The same God goes looking for his missing people now. Perhaps you have made some bad decisions. Maybe you have gotten immersed in the world and are trapped. Perhaps you have been stumbled by the Watchtower’s unseemly doings —many have been. Or possibly you have been treated unkindly by elders, or influenced by the growing numbers of Jehovah’s Witnesses who have left the faith and want nothing to do with Jehovah. Maybe you are simply among the many whose love for the truth is growing cold?
I frequently get emails from Jehovah’s Witnesses who fit the aforementioned, asking for advice on how to go forward. The basic, underlying problem that I can see is a lack of faith. Jesus said that if we have faith the size of a tiny little seed we can move mountains. Do you believe that?
Take the Watchtower out of the equation. It is hard, isn’t it? Especially if you have been associated for a long time. The reason that is so is because the Watchtower has been at the center of our spiritual lives from the beginning. Whether you were “raised in the truth” or two of Jehovah’s Witnesses knocked on your door and you accepted a Bible study from them, the Watchtower has been all-imposing. There is no need to enumerate the ways in which the Organization dominates.
And while Bethel may serve as an instrument to reach and teach and all of that, it is only that —an instrument that Christ has used to do his Father’s work in order that we may have a close relationship with them.
Back to the previous statement. Take the Watchtower out of the equation. Because with a swelling number of disillusioned Jehovah’s Witnesses that is the case anyway. How do we go forward? How about back to the basics? Bible reading and prayer. Nothing is more powerful —more faith strengthening. Isn’t that how we began cultivating a relationship with God in the first place? And just think, you already know God’s personal name! That’s a big plus.
If you believe that it is not possible to have a meaningful relationship with God apart from the Organization, isn’t that an admission that we have put the Watchtower in the place of God? Surely, it is.
Keep in mind that the good shepherd leaves the 99 sheep to look for the one lost sheep. Do you believe that?
So, if you hear God’s faint voice whispering: “Where are you?” don’t hesitate to answer. He is looking for you. Tell him where you are. Tell him you are lost. Remember, too, whatever our hearts may condemn us of, God is stronger than our hearts, as the apostle John stated. “Or do you despise the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, because you do not know that God in his kindness is trying to lead you to repentance?” —Romans 2:4