I lost my job a few weeks ago, and I can’t decide what to do next. My choices are to take a job that’s been offered to me (at less pay), or else dip into my savings and take some job training at our local community college. What would you do if you were in my shoes? — W.L.
The first thing I’d do is thank God that I had a choice! Almost every day I receive at least one letter from someone who’s lost their job and has little hope of finding another one. We should be praying for all who face these hardships, and also for our leaders during this difficult time.
The most important step you can take is to pray and seek God’s will about this decision. God knows all about you; He knows what is best for you and wants to guide you — because He loves you. Do you believe that? It’s true — and I know it’s true because Jesus Christ was willing to lay down His life for you. If you have never opened your heart and life to Him, I urge you to take that step of commitment today.
How does God guide us as we make decisions like this? Sometimes He gives us an inner conviction that a certain path is the right one. Sometimes He opens a door of opportunity for us, while closing others. He also may use wise friends to help us understand our abilities (and limitations), or help us see where each choice might lead. The Bible also is vital; it tells us how to live and what our goals should be.
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The Bible says, “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him. … Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him” (Psalm 37:5, 7). Put your life — and your future — into His hands.
Why are people so thoughtless? I lost my husband a few months ago, and at first everyone was very concerned and sympathetic. But now no one calls or even asks how I’m doing. I don’t understand this. — Mrs. C.McC.
I’m afraid this happens far more often than it should; one reason I wanted to reprint your letter was to remind each of us to be more concerned for those who’ve lost a loved one, or experienced some other trauma.
Why do people react this way? Often it’s because they’ve never gone through the experience of losing someone near to them.
As the result, they don’t realize how devastating it is, or how lonely someone may be who has lost a spouse or other loved one. Often, however, people feel embarrassed or inadequate; they don’t know what to say or do. Or they may simply be preoccupied with other things and don’t stop to think about the needs of others.
The Bible, however, urges us to show kindness and sympathy to those who are hurting — whatever the reason may be. It says, “Be kind and compassionate to one another” (Ephesians 4:32). It also tells us to “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn” (Romans 12:15). Perhaps God wants you to reach out to others who are suffering, and be a friend and encourager to them.
The greatest truth I can give you, however, is that God understands your grief, and He is with you every moment of the day.
Turn to Christ at the beginning of each day, and thank Him for His presence. Thank Him also that because of His death and resurrection, death has been conquered and He has opened heaven’s door for us. Is your faith and trust in Him?
Do you think the human race will ever destroy itself? I get very worried when I read about the way we’re poisoning the environment and things like that, and I wonder if my grandchildren will even have a world left to live in. Does the Bible say anything about this? — Mrs. J.N.
At the very beginning of the human race, God commanded Adam and Eve to take care of the world and not spoil it or misuse it: “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it” (Genesis 2:15). That mandate is still in force, and we must take it seriously.
The Bible also teaches, however, that someday the world as we know it will come to an end. But this won’t happen because of any human action — but because of God’s intervention.
Someday, God will bring an end to the present world system, and Christ will come again to establish His kingdom of perfect righteousness and justice. And at the end of time the whole creation will be made new. The last book of the Bible puts it this way: “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away” (Revelation 21:1).
Does this mean we shouldn’t bother taking care of the world, since it will come to an end anyway? No, not at all. Jesus reached out to the hungry and hurting — and so must we. He commands us to alleviate suffering and work for a better world in the name of Christ.
At the same time, don’t be paralyzed by fears of the future. The future is in God’s hands — and so are we. Have you committed your life — and your future — to Christ?
I’m about to give up on God. I’ve prayed and prayed for Him to take away my problems, but nothing has changed. Why doesn’t God do something? I thought He was supposed to care about us. — P.R.
God does care about us — far more than we will ever imagine. Even when we forget Him or ignore Him, He does not forget us or ignore us, because His love for us is everlasting. The Bible says, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever” (Psalm 106:1).
Why, then, doesn’t He take our problems away when we ask Him? I’ve pondered this question most of my life, and to be honest I don’t have an answer that covers every situation. God sees the whole picture; we see only a part. Someday we will understand, when we see Jesus in heaven — but until then, the Bible says, “We live by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7).
But I do know this: Often God answers our prayers not by taking our problems away, but by giving us the strength and wisdom to deal with them. Yes, when problems arise we all wish they’d just go away — but sometimes God wants us to turn to Him and instead ask Him for the strength to stand up under them. And when we do, He has promised to grant it.
The Apostle Paul said, “I can do everything through him (Christ) who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13).
May this be your experience as you turn your life over to Jesus Christ and trust your problems into His care. God loves you; He loves you so much that He sent His Son into the world to make you part of His family forever. Put your trust in Him today.
The Rev. Billy Graham, whose column appears in Faith & Values every Saturday, can be contacted at “My Answer,” c/o Billy Graham, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201 or www.billy graham.org.