When troubles come, a strong faith carries you through to better times

05/04/2014 4:00 PM

05/04/2014 7:28 PM

DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: My neighbor has had some serious personal problems recently, and she blames them all on God. She says she doesn’t want anything more to do with him and gets very upset if I even mention praying about her problems. How can I help her? — M.M.

DEAR M.M.:

I’ve often said that hard times will either drive people away from God, or they will drive them closer to him.

What makes the difference? It usually depends on how strong a person’s faith was before the hard times came. Sadly, if a person’s faith is already weak, when troubles come they often react the way your neighbor has.

I hope your letter will encourage people to grow strong in their faith right now, so they won’t be thrown off course when troubles do come. Job in the Old Testament is a good example of this; his strong faith didn’t break when troubles came. He declared, “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him” (Job 13:15).

What can you do to help your neighbor? First, pray for her. Pray that God will help her see her need of him, and will help her understand his love for her. Pray too that you will be the kind of friend she needs right now — not lecturing her, but being a good listener and gently letting her know you care.

Then be an example to your neighbor of Christ’s love and mercy. If God opens the door, share with her the hard times you’ve been through, and how Christ gave you hope in the midst of them. But even if you can’t do this right now because it upsets her, your life will speak just as loudly as your words. The Bible says, “Let your gentleness be evident to all” (Philippians 4:5).

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