DEAR DR. GRAHAM: Our son no longer believes in God. He’s been influenced by his high school science teacher, who says we should only believe in things we can prove, and we can’t prove God exists. What can we say to him? I’m afraid it’s causing a lot of conflict in our family. — Mrs. A.L.
DEAR MRS. A.L.: Perhaps the most important thing you can say to him is that you still love him, even if you disagree with him. Arguing, I suspect, will only make him more close-minded and determined to stick to his ideas. The Bible wisely says, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1).
At the same time, I hope you’ll encourage him to keep an open mind and heart. His teacher’s arguments have been around for hundreds of years, and for hundreds of years Christians of great ability have been answering them. Your local Christian bookstore can suggest some reading if he’s interested. As the Bible says, “There is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9).
I also hope your son will realize how many things we accept every day as true, even though we can’t put them in a test tube or prove them scientifically. Can you prove scientifically that love exists? Or beauty? Or goodness, or evil, or jealousy, or contentment? We see their effects and we know they exist, but we can’t put them under a microscope. In a far greater way, the same is true with God.
God has revealed Himself to us in many ways — through the wonders of His creation, for example. But most of all, we know He exists because He became a man and lived among us in the person of Jesus Christ. Pray for your son, and urge him to look at Christ.
DEAR DR. GRAHAM: Does God always punish us when we do wrong? I used to think so, but now I’m not sure. I have a friend who has no use for God and lives a very immoral life, and yet she seems a lot happier than some of the Christians I know. — Mrs. W.W.J.
DEAR MRS. W.W.J.: When we deliberately turn our backs on God and shut Him out of our lives, we always pay a price — always. It may not be obvious at first; in fact, the Bible acknowledges that sin’s pleasures are often “fleeting” (Hebrews 11:25). But eventually our determination to leave God out of our lives will catch up with us.
Often it catches up with us in this life. Yes, your friend may seem happy and free from troubles, but is she really? What about the moments of loneliness, or emptiness, or boredom, or guilt? And what will happen when she faces a personal crisis? Where will she turn then for peace and strength? The Bible’s words are true: “There is no peace ... for the wicked” (Isaiah 48:22).
But living without God also catches up with us in eternity. Someday we all will pass from this life into eternity, and there we will meet God. Why should we expect Him to welcome us and give us eternal life if we haven’t wanted anything to do with Him in this life? Some of the most sobering words in all of the Bible are these: “I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!” (Matthew 7:23).
Pray for your friend, that she will see the foolishness of her ways and turn to Christ for the forgiveness and new life she needs. Pray, too, for yourself, that you will be an example to her of Christ’s love and peace.
DEAR DR. GRAHAM: I’ve been in constant pain the last two years because of some back surgery that didn’t work. Now I’m afraid I’ve gotten hooked on painkillers. I get prescriptions from several doctors who don’t know I’m getting them from the others. I know that’s wrong, but I can’t stand the pain. Why doesn’t God take it away? — M.W.
DEAR M.W.: You know what you want God to do: You want Him to take away your pain. But have you ever asked yourself what He wants you to do?
I’m not a doctor, of course, but I can tell you two things that God wants you to do. First, He wants you to stop getting drugs illegally (for that’s what you’re doing by concealing your true situation from these doctors). Not only are you jeopardizing your health and perhaps even risking arrest, but you may be endangering the professional status of your doctors. As I understand, most states have strict laws about such matters.
But God also wants you to get the best medical advice you possibly can for your problem (perhaps including a second opinion or advice from a specialized pain clinic). Concealing the seriousness of your problem from your doctor is not only unwise, but it could also greatly harm you.
The most important thing I can tell you, however, is that God loves you, and even if pain almost overwhelms you at times, God is still with you and wants to help you. By faith, invite Christ to come into your life, and then thank Him every day that nothing — not even your pain — “will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:39).
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 go to www.billygraham.org.