Health & Spirit

Do you think God is going to punish me?

By Billy Graham, Tribune Content Agency on

Q: Last year I had a major heart attack, and I told God that if He let me live, I'd straighten up my life and start doing what's right. But I have to admit I haven't kept my end of the bargain. Do you think God is going to punish me for this? -- H.L.

A: When God spared you, you were given another opportunity to change the direction of your life and become the person God created you to be. I pray you won't take this lightly, because you don't know what the future holds -- and some day it may be too late.

Don't be like the man in Jesus' parable who decided to forget about God and spend the rest of his years living only for himself. He had accumulated great wealth, and he had more than enough money to spend the rest of his days in luxury and pleasure. Why not enjoy life and forget everything else -- including God? But he was wrong. "God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you' " (Luke 12:20). Then it was too late for him to begin living for God instead of himself.

Do I say this to frighten you? No, that isn't my goal (although I hope you'll take Jesus' parable seriously). My goal instead is to urge you to pause and thank God for sparing your life -- and then to repent of your sins and put Christ first in your life. Why gamble with your soul?

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But I also pray you'll discover the joy and peace that come to us when we follow Christ. The world offers us happiness -- but its promises are false. God loves you, and life's greatest joy comes from knowing Him. Jesus' words are true: "My peace I give you" (John 14:27).


(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:



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