In response to a Nov. 18 letter that asked if God suddenly steps in and solves everything people ask him to solve, Rev. Billy Graham in his "My Answer" column replied: "How does God help us when we face problems and troubles? First, He reminds us that we are never alone if we know Christ. When we commit our lives to Jesus, God adopts us into His family, and we become His children forever. More than that, God also comes to live within us by His Holy Spirit, assuring us of His love and giving us hope for the future."
Graham, 97, still leads the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association from its headquarters in Charlotte, N.C., to direct a wide range of domestic and international ministries. He founded the organization in 1950.
"Sometimes God does step in and suddenly solve a problem we're having, as we commit it to Him and seek His help - but not always. When the Apostle Paul was imprisoned for his faith in the city of Philippi, God intervened and that night an earthquake shattered the jail's doors - but on other occasions he endured lengthy prison terms. (See Acts 16:22-36; Philippians 1:12-14.)," Graham suggested.
In addition, Graham stated in the reply God also gives humans wisdom to deal with problems. "All too often we frantically look around for solutions - but we never turn to God or His people or to the Bible to find His wisdom."
Finally, he wrote, even when our problems persist, God can give us the patience and strength we need to endure them. "Life isn't perfect; no matter who we are, we all have problems. But isn't it better to face them with God than without Him? Make sure of your commitment to Jesus Christ, and then learn to commit your problems to Him every day."
On Nov. 13 - on the same day of the terrorist attacks in Paris that evening - Billy Graham's association team released Sharing Hope in Crisis Student Training, a new online program that provides practical help to prepare Christian students (ages 15-19 years old) to share God's hope with friends, neighbors, and anyone who is suffering - whether in the aftermath of a disaster or from the tragedies of everyday life.
"The sad reality is that young people are not impervious to the suffering and anguish brought about by tragedies. From broken relationships to traffic accidents, they are faced with real and painful struggles as they are trying to navigate the changing world around them," a press release stated.
The training draws on an international network of chaplains who have been specially trained to offer emotional and spiritual care following natural and man-made disasters, according to the release. The organization has held several student training events across the country, but this is the first time that same material is available to everyone, regardless of location.
"When life falls apart, it's so important to be there for your friend, to love them and help them see that God loves them too," said Jack Munday, international director of the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team. "We want to equip our students, so they don't need to hide from their friends, but can instead show compassion and walk alongside them as they struggle through the valley."
Sharing Hope in Crisis Student Training focuses on four key areas:
- When Crisis Happens: Understanding how a traumatic event affects the way people comprehend things and alters their perspective.
- Good News: Sharing the Gospel in a way that brings hope, not more pain or guilt.
- Good Communication: Using questions and good listening skills to help others.
- Sharing Hope: Understanding the right things to say and do, to let the healing begin.
The class consists of eight self-paced lessons and costs $40. Students have three months to complete the program. The program is all-inclusive, with no additional books or materials required.