Where Is God When Terrorism Happens? Billy Graham's Answer

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Billy Graham at the Birmingham crusade in the 1960s.
Billy Graham at the Birmingham crusade in the 1960s. (BGEA)

Why is there so much violence in the world today, not just among nations, but also in our communities, schools and even our homes? We could list many reasons: economic inequality, injustice, greed, racial conflict and so forth. These are certainly real, and we have a responsibility to do everything we can to combat them. The Bible reminds us that "He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the lovingkindness of the Lord" (Ps. 33:5).

Our real problem, however, is far deeper than this—within our own hearts and minds. Have you ever thought about how peaceful our world would be if we truly loved others the way we should and weren't driven instead by selfishness, pride and anger? Jesus said, "For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adultery, fornication, murder ... . All these evil things come from within and defile a man" (Mark 7:21, 23).

This is why we need Christ, for only He can change our hearts and transform us into the people God wants us to be. Have you committed your life to Him? Then pray for our world and its leaders, and pray too that God will restrain the forces of evil. Someday, Christ will come again, and all evil will be destroyed, but in the meantime, make it your goal to live for Him.

Q. Will wars ever cease?

A. We should encourage every effort to bring peace to our world, and the Bible certainly urges us to pray for peace and support those who work for peace. 

One reason the Bible commands us to pray for our leaders is so "we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness" (1 Tim. 2:2).

But the Bible also warns us that we will never bring about a complete end to wars and conflicts—not until Jesus Christ returns to establish His kingdom of perfect justice and righteousness. Why is this? The reason is because wars don't come about just because we don't understand each other, or because some people have less than others. These may contribute to conflicts, but they aren't the basic cause.

Instead, wars ultimately come from within ourselves—from within our own hearts and minds. Pride, greed, envy, jealousy, lust for power—all these can lead to wars and conflicts, and they all come from within the human heart. The Bible says, "What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you?" (James 4:1).

This is why we need Christ, and why the greatest contribution we can make to peace is to give our lives to Him and urge others to turn to Him also. He can change our hearts, putting love in place of hate, and joy and contentment in place of envy and greed. Have you put your life into His hands?

Q. The only thing religion has done for the human race is cause war and conflict. How do you explain that, if religion is true?

A. I can understand your confusion because, unfortunately, religion often has been a source of conflict between peoples and nations, even to this day. However, instead of making you turn away from God, this ought to make you more determined to find Him.

Let me explain. The first thing you need to understand is that not everything that goes by the name of "religion" is true. In fact, much of what passes for religion can't be true—because it contradicts the very nature of God, which is love. Various religions also contradict each other—a clear warning that not every religion is valid or right.

Let me ask you a question: Do you think Jesus Christ encouraged His followers to take up arms and kill anyone who disagreed with them? No, of course not. When Peter took out his sword to fight those who had come to arrest Jesus, Jesus rebuked him: "Put your sword back in its place ... for all who draw the sword will die by the sword" (Matt. 26:52).

My prayer is that you will look at Christ—for He alone could say, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6). He could say this because He alone was both fully man and fully God—God in human flesh. And He came for one reason: to tear down the wall that separates us from God—the wall caused by sin. Put your faith and trust in Him, for He alone gives us peace.

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