January 15, 2002
During a television interview, Billy Graham’s daughter Ann was asked how God could let the September 11th terrorist attacks happen.
She responded, “I believe that God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we’ve been telling God to get out of our schools, get out of our government and get out of our lives. And being the gentleman that He is, I believe that He calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand that He leave us alone?”
While this rightly points at the guilt of those who reject God, does God protect and bless only those who invite Him into their lives?
In one sense, no. He blesses everyone. The Bible says God “causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” One does not have to invite God into their lives to enjoy many of His blessings. They are simply part of our life. That being said, those who welcome God do enjoy special blessings. However, they are not what most people would guess or expect.
The confusion lies with His promises. In contradiction to some television preachers, God does NOT promise financial overflows, total health and well-being, or a life free of pain and trouble. Let’s not forget that Christians also died in those terrorist attacks. However, God does promise major blessings to His people. For instance, He promises His presence. He says, “I will never leave you or forsake you” and “I am with you always.”
He also offers the fruit of His Holy Spirit to those who live obediently in His presence. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.”
A third blessing is deep fellowship with others who know Him: “We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ.” God living in me is able to commune with God living in other believers. The unity of that communion bridges all ages, races, cultures and denominations. When we enjoy fellowship, it is as if we have “always known” each other.
Another huge blessing is answered prayer. While God may say “no” or “wait,” He also says “yes” and does it in ways that we have no doubt He heard our requests. Imagine the sovereign God of the universe listens to our cries for help!
By far the greatest blessing is the assurance of eternal life. “Anyone who believes in the Son of God has this testimony in his heart. Anyone who does not believe God has made Him out to be a liar, because he has not believed the testimony God has given about His Son. And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.”
This is not the life that can be snuffed out by terrorists. It is a life that begins here with God through a simple invitation, then gives us what we need to go through whatever sorrow, pain or suffering this life might dish out. It then takes us beyond the grave and on into eternity to spend forever with Him.