Q: I just retired from the military after 20 years (including tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan), but now that I'm out, I can't find a job. No one seems to appreciate the skills I learned as a soldier. I don't know why I'm writing, but maybe you could pray that I won't give up. — F.R.
A: Thank you for your letter — and thank you for your service to our country. We live in dangerous times, and we should be praying not only for our nation's leaders, but also for all those who are working to bring a greater measure of peace to our world.
I'm thankful, too, that more efforts are being made to help our service people make the often difficult transition from military to civilian life. Perhaps your letter will encourage employers to recognize the advantages of hiring men and women who learned skills in the military that can be put to good use in their companies. An employer once told me that he likes to hire ex-service people because they make disciplined and dedicated workers.
I know you get discouraged, but listen: God knows your situation and he knows what is best for you. That's why the most important thing you can do is turn to him and seek his plan for your future.
If you have never done so, by a simple prayer of faith ask Christ to come into your life. Then ask him to guide you as you seek his will. The Bible says, "In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight" (Proverbs 3:6).
Never forget: God has not abandoned you. He loves you, and just as he's been with you in the past, so he'll be with you in the future. Put your faith and hope in him.
Q: I didn't take my daughters to church when they were young (although I grew up going to church and always knew I should). Now I guess I'm paying the price, because they're all living immoral lives and just laugh when I try to say anything about it. Is God punishing me for my failure? — Mrs. D.T.L.
A: No, God isn't necessarily punishing you because you failed to give your daughters a moral and spiritual foundation for their lives, but he is teaching you an important spiritual truth. It's this: Our actions have consequences — and so do our failures. The Bible puts it this way: "Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows" (Galatians 6:7).
At the same time, your daughters alone are responsible for the decisions they make — both wise and unwise. The tragedy is that some day they, too, will reap what they have sown, and they will experience the bitterness, unhappiness and instability that inevitably come when we ignore God and his commands. When that happens, let them know you still love them, and perhaps they'll be more open to your wisdom.
I'm thankful you're concerned for your daughters; some parents, I'm afraid, would simply turn their backs. But the one you should be concerned about most of all is you! What happened to make you turn away from your upbringing? What happened to cause you to push God to the edges of your life?
Whatever your answer, my prayer is that you will turn back to God, repenting and confessing your sins to him, and welcoming Jesus Christ into the center of your life. Then ask him to lead you to a church where you can grow stronger spiritually and become an example of living faith to your daughters.
(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 Website for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association: http://www.billygraham.org.)