DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: I used to believe in God, but I stopped after my mother died of cancer last year. She was barely 50, and her death just didn’t make any sense. If God really exists, he wouldn’t have let this happen. — J.R.
DEAR J.R.: Elsewhere in your letter, you describe just how close you were to your mother, and I know her death still causes you great pain and sorrow.
Even if you don’t believe in him right now, I want you to assure you that God knows all about your sorrow, and he shares in it. Do you remember when one of Jesus’ friends died, a man named Lazarus? Jesus knew his friend’s death was only temporary, and that soon he would be brought back to life by the power of God.
But when Jesus went to his friend’s tomb, the Bible says he was overwhelmed with grief. It gives his response in just two words: “Jesus wept” (John 11:35).
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That is the shortest verse in the Bible but it contains a world of meaning. It tells us that God knows all about our sorrow when a loved one dies, and yet he does not abandon us. It also tells us that God sees death as an enemy, an enemy that has now been conquered through the death and resurrection of Christ.
My prayer is that you will turn to God for the comfort you need. He loves you, and you need him. Yes, sometimes life is perplexing, and we don’t know why God allows bad things to happen to us. But God still loves us and is with us, and we can turn in faith to him. Don’t dismiss him any longer. Instead, let the Psalmist’s plea become yours: “May your unfailing love be my comfort” (Psalm 119:76).
Tribune Media Services 8/23