Q: It seems like I'm always having financial problems, and they'd all be solved if I could just win the lottery. But I haven't won hardly anything the last few years, although I've prayed and prayed for God to help me win. Why won't God hear my prayers? -- Z.J.
A: Perhaps God isn't answering your prayers because this isn't the way He wants you to solve your financial problems. I know gambling is very common today (including publicly sponsored lotteries), but the Bible doesn't encourage gambling, nor has God promised to bless us when we gamble.
After all, how much money have you spent on lottery tickets the past few years? If you added it all up, I suspect it would be a fairly large sum. But what if you had saved that money or used it to pay off some of your debts? Wouldn't your life today be better than it actually is? Only you can answer that, of course, but remember: Every dollar you've gambled away is lost -- forever.
Instead I urge you to do whatever you can to get control of your finances. Make a realistic budget -- and stick to it. Avoid buying things you don't really need, or that you buy on impulse. If at all possible set up a regular savings plan, perhaps through a payroll deduction plan with your employer. If credit cards have become a problem to you, lock them away or get rid of them.
Most of all, commit your finances -- and your whole life -- to Jesus Christ. God doesn't want you to be a slave to money or greed. Instead, He wants you to use your resources wisely and for His glory. The Bible warns, "Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income" (Ecclesiastes 5:10).
Send your queries to "My Answer," c/o Billy Graham, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; call 1-(877) 2-GRAHAM, or visit the Web site for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association: www.billygraham.org.(c)2008 BILLY GRAHAM DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.