A: It's a hard lesson to learn (and some people never do learn it, I'm afraid), but you can't change the past. What's done (either for good or for bad) can never be erased, and the consequences will remain with us the rest of our lives. Perhaps your letter will help someone avoid going down the path you once chose.
But you can change the future, with God's help. And He wants to help you, because He loves you and cares what happens to you. So far in life, you haven't paid much attention to Him, but why should that be true in the future? Instead, put your feet on a new path by asking Christ to come into your life, to forgive the past and help you in the future.
How will God help you? I can't promise you'll be able to overcome all the hurts your children feel. But you can reach out to them, telling them (perhaps in a letter) that you're sorry for what happened, and you have now given your life to Jesus.
In addition, Christ will give you hope as you grow older. You'll know He is always with you, and most of all you'll know that someday you will go to be with Him in heaven. Because of Christ's death and resurrection we have “the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time” (Titus 1:2).
Q: I do volunteer work in our local hospital, and in general I find it very fulfilling. But what can I say to someone who has no hope of recovery? I try to cheer them up by urging them to think positively, but to be honest that seems kind of empty. — Mrs. N. McC.
A: Yes, it is empty, not just because it's not realistic, but also because it avoids the most serious question any person can ever ask.
What is that question? Simply this: Where will I spend eternity? Some answer it by saying there isn't any eternity; once we're dead, that's the end, and we can't look forward to anything more. Others answer it by saying they hope there might be a heaven, and perhaps they'll go there, although they don't really know. Still others refuse to even think about it.
But the Bible gives us a different answer. The Bible tells us that we aren't just a body or a mind; we also have a spirit or soul that God has implanted within us. And just as God will never die, neither will our souls, for they were created in His image. Our bodies will die; our minds will decay, but our souls will live on, either in that place of absolute loneliness and despair the Bible calls hell, or in the joy of God's presence in heaven forever.
Ask God to help you be an encouragement to your patients, both by your presence and by your words, including words of hope and salvation because of Christ. By His death and resurrection, Christ gives us hope — hope right now, and hope for all eternity. Most hospitals have chaplaincy programs that also may be of help to you. Remember Jesus' words: there is “rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15:7).
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 visit www.billygraham.org.