DEAR DR. GRAHAM: We just don’t understand our two daughters. They’re teenagers now, and one day they’ll be happy and carefree, and the next day they’ll be sullen and moody and will hardly speak to us. What’s going on? — Mrs. G.W.
DEAR MRS. G.W.: I’m sure most parents of teens could echo your comments; the teen years can be confusing — not just for teenagers but also for their parents.
I’m not a psychologist, of course, but as you look back over your own adolescence, you know these can be difficult times.
On one hand, teenagers yearn to be free and have all the privileges of adulthood.
But on the other hand, they’re beginning to realize that adulthood also involves responsibilities — and they find that scary.
They also are dealing with a host of other issues, from peer pressure to a new yearning for love and acceptance.
God has given your daughters to you — not just for your enjoyment, but also so you can guide and help them make the transition to adulthood.
Thank God for them, and ask Him to give you the love, patience and wisdom you’ll need for this stage of their lives. Someone half-jokingly once said to me that James 1:5 must have been written especially for the parents of teens: “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God... and it will be given to you” (James 1:5).
Go out of your way to let them know you love them, no matter what’s going on in their lives.
Learn to be a good listener also, and to know when to give advice and when to keep silent. Learn, too, from the experience of other parents. Most of all, encourage your daughters to put their lives into Christ’s hands, and to seek His guidance for their futures.
DEAR DR. GRAHAM: I’m facing a big decision about my future, and I don’t know which way to go. Does God care what I do? Or does it not really matter to Him? — N.D.
DEAR N.D.: Yes, God certainly cares what you do because He loves you and doesn’t want you to do something that will harm you or send you down the wrong road in life. He has said, “I have loved you with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3).
But God not only cares what you do. He also knows what’s best for you, and He wants to show it to you. God isn’t an unconcerned bystander, just hoping that somehow you’ll make the right decision. He wants to guide and help you, and that’s why the most important thing you can do is turn to Him and ask Him to show you His will concerning this decision.
How can you know God’s will? The first step is to put yourself into His hands by asking Jesus Christ to come into your life. He came into the world to erase the barrier of sin that separates us from God, and He did this by giving His life as the final and complete sacrifice for our sins. The most important decision you’ll ever make is to commit your life to Him.
Then ask God to guide you as you make this decision. How will He do this? Often He guides us by His Word, the Bible; He will never direct you to do anything that’s contrary to His Word. He guides us also as we pray and seek His will. He also may use wise friends to help us. You can trust His promise: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart... and He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6, NKJV).
DEAR DR. GRAHAM: I got involved in something I knew was wrong (and also stupid), but a couple of friends talked me into it, and now we’re in jail and facing trial. I never thought this would happen to me, and it’s really hurt my parents. Pray I’ll get out of this somehow. — R.K.
DEAR R.K.: one reason I wanted to reprint your letter is because I hope it will warn someone who’s being tempted to go down the same road you did. Bad decisions always lead to bad consequences — without exception.
You see, God has told us what’s right and wrong, and He did so because He knows what will happens to us when we do wrong. You don’t indicate what you and your “friends” did, but even if you had gotten by with it this time, it would have caught up with you eventually. You even might have been tempted to commit greater wrongs, leading to greater penalties. The Bible warns, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows” (Galatians 6:7).
No matter what the outcome is to your trial, the real question is this: How will you live in the future? Will you continue down the same path, or will you learn from this and take a new path — God’s path? God loves you, and He yearns for you to turn to Christ and make Him the center and foundation of your life. Open your heart to Jesus today.
Then ask God to help you turn away from temptation and do what is right. Seek out a church where you can learn what it means to follow Jesus instead of the ways of the world. Heed too God’s warning: “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character’” (1 Corinthians 15:33).
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.