Q: I feel like God has abandoned me. I've had three close relatives die in the past few months, and now I just got word that my aunt, who's been almost like a second mother to me, has inoperable cancer. Why is God doing this to me? — Mrs. C.G.
A: In all honesty, when things like this touch our lives, we seldom know why God has allowed them to happen. Job in the Old Testament declared, "Man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward" (Job 5:7).
But God has not abandoned you! In the midst of all that's happening to you, God wants you to discover one of life's greatest truths: He loves you and wants to help you and give you hope for the future. And he will, as you turn to Christ in faith and trust and make him (instead of your circumstances) the foundation of your life. Circumstances change and emotions change, but God never changes, and that's why we can put our trust in Christ.
I've often said that hard times in life will do one of two things to us: They'll either drive us away from God or turn us toward him. Which is better? The answer is clear: It's far better to put our lives into God's hands than to try living without him.
The Bible says, "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble" (Psalm 46:1).
Mary, the mother of Jesus, experienced far greater sorrow than we will ever know, watching helplessly as her son — the son of God — was nailed to a cross. How could God let it happen? But by his death and resurrection, Christ purchased our salvation, and that made all the difference — for her and for us.
Q: I feel sorry for our neighbor, because she's getting up in years and doesn't seem to have any relatives or friends who pay her much attention. I've tried to be friendly, but to be honest she doesn't seem interested and I've about given up. Any suggestions? — Mrs. B.L.
A: We can't force our friendship on other people, but we can let them know that we care about them and want to help if they need us. And this may be the best you can do in this situation.
Don't give up, however. God cares for your nrighbor — and so should you, even if she seems indifferent. Some people are just shy. Others may be suspicious of our motives. Still others may simply not want to be bothered.
But whatever her reasons, God put you next to her, and as you have opportunity, let her know you care.
The Bible says, "If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, 'Love your neighbor as yourself,' you are doing right" (James 2:8).
This is especially important because of what you say about her age. Like many older people, she's probably very independent and determined to stay in her home as long as she can. But time takes its toll. Gradually she may lose the ability to take care of herself. Or she may experience a fall or sudden illness and will need your help.
Pray, too, for your neighbor, and ask God to help you be an example to her of Christ's love and compassion. In addition, see if you can find out anything about her relatives, in case you need to contact them in an emergency.
Even as he was hanging from the cross, Jesus made sure that one of his disciples was willing to provide for his mother, Mary (see John 19:26-27).
(Send your queries to "My Answer," c/o Billy Graham, Billy Graham Evangelistic Assn., 1 Billy Graham Pwy., Charlotte, N.C., 28201; call 1-(877) 2-GRAHAM; or visit the web site for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association: http://www.billygraham.org.)