Will You Trust God?

Image IMAGINE that you have a friend whom you admire greatly, but he does something that you cannot understand. Others criticize his action and judge his motives, saying that your friend is cruel. Would you be quick to agree with them, or would you wait to hear your friend’s side of the story? If he was not there to explain himself, would you be patient, giving him the benefit of the doubt?

You might want to know more before answering. You might ask, ‘How well do I really know this friend, and what basis do I have for admiring him?’ Fair enough. But consider: Can we not apply the same principles to this question of whether God is cruel?

For example, you may find it hard to understand some of what God has done, or you might be puzzled by what he has allowed to happen. There are plenty of people who will tell you that God is cruel. Will you judge his motives with haste as they do? Or will you extend him the benefit of the doubt until you know more? The answer may depend on how well you know God. Ask yourself, ‘What kind of a friend has God been to me?’

The Bible says: “The whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one.” (1 John 5:19) Who is “the wicked one”? The Bible identifies him as Satan. (Matthew 13:19; Mark 4:15) Is that farfetched? Think of this: If Satan has power over the world, then he influences humans to be as selfish, greedy, and shortsighted as he is. Would that not help to explain why man so badly mismanages his own environment on the earth? Many experts warn that mismanagement of the environment may play a role in natural disasters, whether by causing them, worsening them, or making human society more vulnerable to them.

Why does God allow Satan to have so much influence? The answer goes back to the dawn of human history, when our first parents rebelled against God as Ruler. Most of mankind has followed the same course ever since. That choice—the rejection of the rule of God—has placed the world of mankind in the hands of God’s enemy, Satan. Jesus thus called Satan “the ruler of the world.” (John 14:30) But Satan will not rule forever.

Consider, if your life has been difficult, you might be tempted to say that God has not been a friend at all. But has God been responsible for the hardships in your life—or for the blessings? As we have seen, Satan is “the ruler of this world,” not Jehovah. (John 12:31) It is thus Satan who is behind much of the misery and injustice of this world. And our own imperfections and unpredictable circumstances cause many of our problems. Would you not agree?

God is “the Maker of heaven and earth”; his works include our physical bodies, which are “wonderfully made” and Jehovah is “the God in whose hand your breath is.” (Psalm 124:8; 139:14; Daniel 5:23) Yes, we owe our every breath, our very existence, to our Creator. (Acts 17:28) It means that the gift of life, the beauty of the world around us, the pleasures of love and friendship, the joys of taste, touch, sound, and smell—all of these are gifts from God. (James 1:17) Would you not agree that those blessings make him a Friend who is worthy of our esteem and trust?


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Jesus ‘Loves His Own to the End’— John 13:1

ImageFor the next two days—Nisan 12 and 13—Jesus does not openly show himself at the temple. The religious leaders are seeking to kill him, and he does not want anything to interfere with his celebrating the Passover with his apostles. 

THE setting sun on Thursday begins Nisan 14—the last day of Jesus’ life on earth as a human. That evening, Jesus and his apostles are together in a house in Jerusalem where preparation has been made for them to celebrate the Passover. As they enjoy the Passover together, he teaches the 12 a beautiful lesson in humility by washing their feet. After dismissing Judas Iscariot, Jesus introduces the Memorial of his death.—Exodus 21:32; Matthew 26:14, 15, 26-29; John 13:2-30.

Appreciating that they have stuck with him during his trials, he makes a personal covenant with them for a kingdom. (Luke 22:24-30) Jesus also commands them to love one another just as he has loved them. (John 13:34) As he lingers in that room, Jesus lovingly prepares them for his imminent departure. He assures them of his friendship, encourages them to exercise faith, and promises them the help of the holy spirit. (John 14:1-17; 15:15)  Jesus has prepared the apostles for his departure, and he surely ‘loves his own to the end.’—John 13:1; 17:1.

 It may be well past midnight when Jesus and his 11 faithful apostles reach the garden of Gethsemane. He has often gone there with his apostles. (John 18:1, 2) Within hours, Jesus is to die as though he were a despicable criminal. The agony of this anticipated experience and how it may bring reproach upon his Father is so intense that while Jesus prays, his sweat becomes as drops of blood falling to the ground. (Luke 22:41-44)

Judas Iscariot approaches, accompanied by a large crowd carrying torches and lamps and weapons. They have come to arrest Jesus. He does not resist. “In that case,” he explains, “how would the Scriptures be fulfilled that it must take place this way?”—Mark 14:41-43; Matthew 26:48-54.

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