CBN News reports that evangelist Billy Graham recently offered some encouraging words to those who feel like God was disturbingly silent in 2017.
In an advice column published last week, Graham responded to a reader who complained about illness, deaths, and financial issues over the course of their year. Apparently, the person begged God to solve them, but nothing happened.
Here was Graham's response:
The most important thing I can tell you is that God knew what was going on in your life, and He deeply cared about you, even if it didn’t seem like it at the time. In the midst of a terrible time for God’s people, the prophet Jeremiah could still say, “His compassions never fail” (Lamentations 3:22).
Frankly, I wish I knew why God allows hard times to come to us, but I don’t—not fully. What I do know is that evil is real, and sometimes it seems to gain the upper hand, at least for a time. I also know that God knows all about evil and suffering, for His only Son, Jesus Christ, endured the suffering and death of the cross. But beyond the cross was the empty tomb, and because of Christ’s resurrection, you and I can have hope—both now and forever.
When hard times come we can do one of two things: We can either become bitter and turn against God, or we can turn in faith to Him, and find in Him the strength and hope we need. Which will it be for you?
As you stand on the threshold of a new year, turn to Jesus Christ and ask Him to come into your life. Then ask Him to give you His strength and wisdom as you face life’s challenges. Remember: When we know Christ, nothing “will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:39).
Billy Graham has responded to another person who wondered how God can exist if the world is filled with such evil. Here was Graham's answer:
The answer is two-fold. For one thing, God could have made a world with no evil in it. However, it would have been one of robots and puppets—creatures who could not love Him or anyone else. Love is possible only for free moral creatures; forced love is a contradiction. So, in order for the world to be morally good, it must be morally free. And free creatures are capable of free choices that bring disease, disaster and death. This is the world in which we live.
In “The Problem of Pain,” C.S. Lewis explains a second point about suffering. “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” The painful truth is that God is more interested in our holiness than in our happiness. He is more interested in our character than in our comfort.
More than a half-century of Christian experience has led me to the conviction that few enduring lessons in life come through pleasure. All of mine have come through pain. Yet, I have joyfully learned that the poet was right when he said, “God is good when He gives supremely good, nor less when He denies. Even crosses from His gracious hands are blessings in disguise.” For the lessons of life reveal that “tribulation worketh patience” (Romans 5:4, KJV), and “Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Corinthians 4:17, KJV).
You can read the rest of Graham's comments on God and evil at the link here.
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