The questions are there. They always have been, and they always will be. But by God’s grace, so are the answers — and those who are called to share them.
Spoken thoughtfully, lovingly, and authoritatively over 2,000 years ago by the humble son of a carpenter who came to die to set man free, the Gospel message of salvation through Jesus Christ offers the transformative invitation to an everlasting relationship with him.
Sadly, time, distance, culture, and, of course, our sinful ways, have ways of separating us from truly knowing and receiving this amazing gift, which is why the Lord sends his spirit to work through people to share his love.
Recently, I enjoyed the glorious opportunity to visit the North Carolina homestead and library for one of the most faithful and recognizable of the Lord’s evangelists, the Rev. Billy Graham. The son of a dairy farmer, Graham went on to personally proclaim the Gospel to more people in history before going home to the Lord early last year at 99 years of age.
During Graham’s 70-plus years in ministry, he personally preached the Gospel message to over 215 million people in more than 185 countries, in addition to the millions who came to Christ through The Hour of Decision radio program he hosted for over 60 years.
Of particular interest to me was learning about Graham’s newspaper column, My Answer, which ran domestically and internationally throughout his ministry. His column provide a forum for readers to submit all manner of questions related to matters of faith, life, death, and everlasting life.
My Answer, which still runs today in many places, provides a contemporary medium for the piercing questions of life and immortality. The truth of these answers comes from God’s word, found in the Bible. Graham’s answers, like most of Jesus’ followers, pointed to scripture for its veracity.
This is what it means to be Bible-based in one’s theology. It represents the bedrock of unswerving truth in an era overshadowed by moral relativism (e.g. whatever you think is OK). Like the old saying goes, if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for everything, and right now our society is falling all over itself searching for answers.
The final answer that Graham ever gave came in his last column, which was published on Feb. 21, 2018, the day he went home to the Lord. His answer came to his own rhetorical question that Jesus had already answered — in thought, word, and deed.
“I’m convinced that heaven is far more glorious than anything we can possibly imagine right now... I won’t be in heaven because I’ve preached to large crowds or because I’ve tried to live a good life.
“I’ll be in heaven for one reason: Many years ago I put my faith and trust in Jesus Christ, who died on the cross to make our forgiveness possible and rose again from the dead to give us eternal life.
“Do you know you will go to heaven when you die? You can, by committing your life to Jesus Christ today. ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.’” (John 3:16).
If you have more questions than answers, visit billygraham.org/answers/.
Brian Underwood is director of school development at Sierra Lutheran High School.