A: God knows what you’re going through — and to be honest, we don’t always know why He allows hard things to happen to us. But remember, God never promised that our lives would be free from trouble or sickness, even if we love and serve Him.
After all, no one was closer to God that Jesus, yet God permitted Him to go through the worst possible suffering, by dying a cruel death on a cross. Nor was His suffering only physical; it was also mental, emotional and spiritual. And yet Christ did not shrink back from the path set before Him — because He knew it was part of God’s plan. The Bible says, “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering” (Isaiah 53:3).
Why do I mention this? I mention it because it points us to an important truth: No matter what we’re going through, Jesus has already been there, and He knows what we’re experiencing. But Jesus’ example reminds us also of another important truth: Even in our darkest moments Christ is with us, and we can trust our lives into His hands.
Pray for your neighbors, and ask God to help you be an example to them of Christ’s love. And may your lives also be a demonstration to them of Christ’s strength and grace. Remember Jesus’ words: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).
Q: Our church just had a missions conference, but isn’t the day of foreign missions finished? Most countries now have their own churches, and anyway almost everyone can hear the story of Jesus over radio or the Internet. Why do we still need missionaries? — G.R.
A: Recently, someone called my attention to an address by a Christian leader from a country which has very few Christians. He had one main message: We still need missionaries to come to our nation.
Remember, Jesus’ command to preach the Gospel to the ends of the earth has never been withdrawn — nor will it be until He comes again. His final words to His disciples were absolutely clear: “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation” (Mark 16:15). Billions of people today are lost in a maze of spiritual confusion and darkness, and they need the life-changing message of Christ. More than that, they need hope — hope for this life, and hope for the life to come. How can we remain silent?
Missionaries today carry out Christ’s command in many ways, not only by preaching the Gospel but by demonstrating Christ’s love and compassion to those in need (something the Internet can never replace). Jesus said we serve Him even when we give “a cup of cold water to one of these little ones” (Matthew 10:42). My son Franklin’s Christian humanitarian aid ministry, Samaritan’s Purse, works in over 100 countries to bring relief and assistance to people whose lives have been torn apart by disaster or turmoil.
Pray for your church’s missionaries, and support them generously (especially during these difficult economic times). More than that, pray that God will raise up a new generation of young people who will respond to His call to bring Christ to the nations.
Send your queries to “My Answer,” c/o Billy Graham, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; call 1-(877) 2-GRAHAM, or visit www.billygraham.org.