A: 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).
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).
Q: It seems like we used to hear a lot about cults a decade or so ago, but I hardly hear anything about them today. Why is that? Have most of them faded away? — Mrs. M.L.
A: A few cults do seem to have faded away or lost their appeal. Some, for example, were built around the strong personality of a domineering leader, and once he or she died many followers drifted away.
I can assure you, however, that other cults are still active and aggressively recruiting new members. Some claim to have Christian roots (although they reject the Gospel), while others draw their beliefs from a variety of philosophies or religions. Almost all claim that they, and they alone, have discovered the path to spiritual enlightenment or the way to heaven. They often demand total obedience, and may require a convert to leave their family or give all their money to the group.
How can you recognize a cult? First, ask what they believe about Jesus. The Bible says He was the unique Son of God, fully God and fully man -- but cults deny this. Then ask what they teach about salvation. The Bible says only Christ can save us, and we cannot save ourselves. But cults deny this, saying our salvation depends on our own efforts. Finally, ask what they believe about the Bible. Is it, and it alone, God’s Word -- or do they add to it or reject it?
Make certain of your own commitment to Jesus Christ, and don’t be deceived by the false teachings of those who deny the truth of God’s Good News in Christ. Pray, too, for those who might be misled by them. The Bible warns that in the last days “evildoers and imposters will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived” (2 Timothy 3:13).
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.