Billy Graham has shared how to be sincerely thankful in every situation - both the good and the bad - and reminded those suffering that Jesus has promised to never leave or forsake them.
In his syndicated advice column for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, the 98-year-old evangelist shared his thoughts in response to a reader who admitted to being "angry and depressed" over their continued battle with cancer.
"The Bible says, 'Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus' (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)," Graham began. "But is this realistic-or even possible?"
The evangelist argued that it is, in fact, possible to rejoice in such situations - once we understand why we should be thankful.
"Cancer is a terrible disease, and we aren't called to be thankful for things that are evil," he explained. "But you can be thankful that God has promised to be with you, even when life isn't the way you wish it were. We are never alone when we know Christ! God's promise is true: 'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you' (Hebrews 13:5)."
Believers can also be thankful for the hope we have in Jesus Christ, Graham said, and encouraged the reader to pray for healing.
"Hopefully you'll be cured," he said. "But death comes eventually to us all, and when we know Christ, we know we will be with Him in Heaven forever. Even in life's hardest times, we have hope."
He added, "Sometimes even life's hardest times become a blessing, because through them we discover God's love for us. The Bible says, 'Come near to God and he will come near to you' (James 4:8)."
In an earlier blog post, the evangelist, who currently resides in Montreat, North Carolina, encouraged readers not to think of thankfulness as an obligation that God demands of us, but rather as an opportunity to pause and remember all the good things He has done for us.
"God knows what you've been going through-and He has never abandoned you," Graham said. "He loves you, and He has helped you and sustained you even when you weren't aware of it. How do I know He loves you? I know it because Jesus Christ was willing to go to the cross and give His life for you, so all your sins could be forgiven and you could be with Him in Heaven forever. Invite Him to come into your heart and life today."