Being a Christian does not exempt us from tough training

Published 8:35 am Wednesday, January 6, 2021

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From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham

Dear Rev. Graham: I have just recently accepted God into my life and am a shut-in. My neighbor suggested I start listening to a church program on TV. The preacher promises that those who come to Christ will have happiness and prosperity. Another friend told me to expect difficulties which can help me grow in my faith. Which is it? — P. P.

Dear P.P.: New believers in Jesus Christ may receive false impressions of the normal Christian life. He or she may hear a preacher who wants to win hearers to Christ and therefore glamorizes the Christian experience by making it sound as carefree and positive as he can. Many times believers begin their Christian walk on an emotional high. They see remarkable answers to prayer and experience the world in a rosy glow.
This is a reminder of how the American public felt during the first few days of the war in the Persian Gulf. Everything seemed to be going our way as our brave pilots crushed enemy installations with little opposition. The president warned against “euphoria” as a result of these apparent successes.
Being a Christian does not exempt us from tough training, which may mean suffering. If the training were easy, we would not be prepared for the tough days ahead. All people experience disasters, troubles, and illnesses. Setbacks are the common lot of mankind, and Christians and non-Christians are involved in them because we share the human experience. The difference for the Christian is that Jesus Himself will be with us every step of the way, and the challenges of life do help us grow in the things of the Lord. Being a Christian is a daily process whereby we grow to be more and more like Christ. This is a great blessing that comes from faith in the Lord.
(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)

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