Q: Is there hope for the living after experiencing the loss of a loved one that leaves us weak and suffering in grief? — G.S.
A: Even in the midst of grieving, mourners begin to look for glimmers of hope. First, an hour will not go by without thinking of the loss; then a few hours, then a day. They get a good night’s sleep for the first time. A meal tastes good. Slowly, reconstruction begins.
For believers in Jesus Christ, verses of hope seem to appear in the Bible, verses they had previously passed over. Passages they have read many times before suddenly stand out with new clarity, with deeper meaning.
A daughter called her grieving mother and said, just as if no one had ever discovered this verse before, “Listen, Mom, to what Romans 14:8 says, ‘For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.’ Isn’t that great?” This is a true story and the words are truth.
The Bible says we have a God of hope. In the Scripture, we find our hope. Having faith and hope does not mean that we bypass grief, but we can work through it and be strengthened.
Death is an enemy and grief is its companion. But it is all part of life, and for those who put their trust and faith in the Lord, trials bring us closer to Him, allowing us to comfort others in their times of sorrow.
Our grief is not a sign of weakness, but of great love for someone who has been important to us. If there is something we need more than anything else during grief, it is a friend who stands with us, who doesn’t leave us. Jesus is that friend.
Q: Is it true that at one time people spoke the same language, and does God speak to us in our own language? — O.L.
A: Before the great flood of Noah’s time people communicated in one language. After the flood event, another crisis emerged when the people again revolted against God. Defiant of God’s laws and provisions, they wanted to reach into the heavens by building a tower designed to rise above everything else in the world. It was really the “religion” of the people, exalting man instead of God. Judgment fell upon the human race and God confused the languages. The name of the place was called Babel, which means ‘to confuse.’ The Bible records that the Lord scattered them over all the earth, and because of man’s rebellion against Him, we experience difficult communications among the nations even today. This is a judgment from God.
But God’s Word is not limited in time and space; it is not limited by language or culture. The Word [the Bible] is God-breathed (see 2 Timothy 3:16).
With the invention of the printing press and the tremendous advances in learning linguistics, God’s Word is readily available in hundreds of languages around the world. God is not bound by language.
Likewise, prayers have no boundaries. God can hear and understand the prayers of those who earnestly seek Him. Our prayers, while uttered in our own language, leap miles and continents — right to the ears of God. For those who have never accepted Christ as personal Savior and Lord, the Bible says: “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9). To those who walk with Him, the Lord declares that His ear is not “dull, that it cannot hear” (Isaiah 59:1, ESV). These are the promises of God.
This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.