DEAR DR. GRAHAM: I can’t get around very easily because of some physical disabilities. They’ve gotten worse recently, and now I’ve had to stop going to my church because it isn’t handicapped accessible. Will God understand why I don’t go anymore? — Mrs. A.B.
DEAR MRS. A.B.: I want to assure you that God understands your situation, and He doesn’t look down on you because you can’t do everything you once did. The Bible says, “For we do not have a high priest (Jesus) who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses” (Hebrews 4:15).
At the same time, I urge you to do everything you can to keep contact with your church and its members. You need their encouragement and help — and your example can be an encouragement to them. In addition, find ways to continue receiving spiritual help from your church’s ministry. Are sermons available through its website or by some other means? Have you told your pastor that you’d welcome visits? The Bible says, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up” (1 Thessalonians 5:11).
In addition, I hope your church will take steps to become more accessible. I’m thankful that many churches have already done this, and I hope yours will, as well. Jesus went out of His way to seek out those who had difficulty reaching Him. He even allowed some men to tear up the roof of a crowded house where He was speaking, so they could lower their paralyzed friend down to Him (see Luke 5:19).
Take comfort also in Jesus’ promises about the future — His promise to be with you, and His promise that someday we will go to be with Him in heaven if we know Christ. Never forget: One day, all our earthly ills will be over, and we will be safely in His presence forever.
DEAR DR. GRAHAM: My girlfriend keeps bugging me about going to church with her, but to be honest, I don’t feel any need for religion, and neither do most of my friends. It would be hypocritical for me to pretend otherwise, wouldn’t it? — N.K.
DEAR DR. GRAHAM: Yes, it probably would be hypocritical for you to claim you were interested in God or wanted to go to church, if it wasn’t really true. Some of Jesus’ strongest words were directed at those who claimed to follow God, but denied it by the way they lived.
But have you ever asked yourself exactly why you aren’t interested in God? I don’t know how you’d answer this; you may not even have given it much thought. I’ve found that people give all sorts of reasons for their indifference (or even hostility) toward God — their family background, an unhappy experience with a church, confusion over what it means to be a Christian, questions no one seems able to answer, and so forth. Perhaps some of these would be on your list.
But the real reason most people aren’t interested in God is because they want to be free to run their own lives, and they know they’ll have to change the way they live if they take Christ seriously. Like the rebellious subjects in one of Jesus’ parables, they declare, “We will not have this man to reign over us” (Luke 19:14, NKJV). Is this true of you?
Be grateful for your friend’s concern for you, and don’t continue to turn your back on God. Instead, be open to what God wants to do in your life. He put you here for a reason, and life’s greatest joy comes from knowing Christ and discovering His purpose for you. You’ll never regret it.
DEAR DR. GRAHAM: I suppose you’ve heard the old saying that “I can resist everything but temptation.” Well, that’s certainly true of me. I know I’m not living the way I should, but I don’t seem to be able to do anything about it. Any suggestions? — M.H.
DEAR M.H.: You’ve taken the first step by admitting that you’re weak and simply can’t resist temptation on your own. As I’ve often said, the person who is in the most danger morally and spiritually is the person who thinks they don’t need anyone to help them — including God.
Let me ask you a question: Do you think God cares when you give in to temptation and do wrong? Yes, He definitely does! The reason is because He loves you and knows that when you do something wrong you’ll end up hurting yourself. Sin will eventually destroy us, and God doesn’t want that to happen. The Bible warns, “You may be sure that your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23).
Don’t look on God as a harsh, cruel tyrant, gleefully waiting to punish you when you do wrong. See Him instead as your loving Heavenly Father, who loves you so much that He sent His Son into the world to give His life for you. Then realize that when you give in to temptation, you’ll be hurting your loving Heavenly Father — as well as yourself.
Begin by turning to Christ and asking Him to forgive your sins and come into your life.
Then every morning, commit that day to God, and ask Him to help you turn your back on temptation and live instead for Christ. Temptations will come, but “God is faithful.... He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
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.