DEAR DR. GRAHAM: How do we know if what someone says about God is actually true? Maybe it’s just something they dreamed up, or that they sincerely think is true but it isn’t. I’m not sure we can know anything for certain about God. — Z.N.
DEAR Z.N.: You’re correct, up to a point; not everyone who claims to know the truth about God is actually right. Instead, they may be like the false prophets of Jeremiah’s day: “They fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds” (Jeremiah 23:16).
But does this mean we can never know anything about God? No, it doesn’t — and the reason is because God has deliberately shown Himself to us, if we only know where to look. One way He has done this is through the world He created. As you look into the heavens... or peer through the lens of a microscope... or hold a newborn baby in your arms... can you honestly say that all this must have happened by chance? As the Bible says, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands” (Psalm 19:1).
But God has shown Himself to us in another way that almost staggers our imagination: He came down from heaven and became a man! That man was Jesus Christ, who was both fully man and fully God. Do you want to know what God is like? Look at Jesus as He is found in the pages of the New Testament — and when you do, you’ll not only realize that God exists, but that He loves you and wants you to know Him and spend eternity with Him.
Don’t be captive to doubt, but commit your life to Jesus. “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).
DEAR DR. GRAHAM: Can people ever change? My husband has always been a very impatient person, and I’ve finally decided that he’s always going to be that way. Please pray that I’ll be able to adjust, because sometimes it’s very hard to get along with him. — Mrs. C.Y.
DEAR C.Y.: Yes, with God’s help, people can change, even when it seems impossible. It may not happen all at once (although it may), but God has the power to change us, and He will as we put our lives into His hands. The Bible says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
This is why the most important thing you can do is to pray for your husband. And the most important thing you can pray for is that he will realize he needs God, and will turn his life over to Jesus Christ. Only then will he truly want to change his life and become a more patient and loving person. The Bible says, “Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Colossians 3:12).
But God also wants to work in your heart, to give you the patience you need to deal with your impatient husband — even if he doesn’t change. It may mean that you sometimes have to set aside your own plans, but I pray you’ll be willing to do this for the sake of your marriage. And if you have never given your own life to Christ, make your commitment to Him today.
In addition, ask God to help you not focus on your husband’s faults, but on his good points. God gave you to each other, and He can bring you closer together as you put Christ at the center of your lives and your marriage.
DEAR DR. GRAHAM: A friend of mine admits she isn’t a Christian but claims she feels God’s presence when she does something good for other people. I’m not sure what she means by this, but I admire her for her concern for others. — Mrs. J.J.
DEAR MRS. J.J.: Yes, your friend’s concern for others is admirable, and we should be thankful for anyone who seeks to help those in need. God in His grace can use even people who don’t believe in Him to bring comfort and healing to our hurting world.
I’m not sure, either, what your friend means when she says she feels God’s presence when she helps someone; you might ask her if you have an opportunity. Perhaps doing something good for someone makes her feel good inside, and she believes those feelings must be from God. Or perhaps she’s had people express their gratitude to her by saying that God must have sent her to them, and that makes her feel God must be with her.
But our emotions can mislead us; they can even deceive us into thinking God is with us when He actually isn’t. True faith isn’t just a warm feeling. True faith is focused on God, and on His Son, Jesus Christ. Warm feelings won’t save us, nor will they cleanse us of our sins — which is our greatest need. Only Christ can do that — and He will, as we open our hearts and lives to Him and trust Him as our Savior and Lord.
Pray for your friend, that she will see her need to repent of her sins and turn her life over to Jesus Christ.
Then she’ll want to help others not just because of the good feelings she gets, but out of Christ’s love. The Bible says, “This is love for God: to keep his commands” (1 John 5:3).
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.