Question: I was real excited when I gave my life to Jesus at a church camp last year, but now I'm not even sure what I believe. What happened to me? How did I lose my feelings of joy?
Answer: Let me assure you that God hasn't changed. He still loves you and still wants you to know that He is with you every moment of the day.
The key is to understand that when you gave your life to Jesus, you entered into a personal relationship — a relationship with God Himself. But like any other relationship, our relationship with God needs to be safeguarded and nurtured.
What would happen to your friendship with someone if you never spoke to them or spent time with them? Eventually that friendship would wither and die — and the same is true of our relationship with God.
Jesus said, "I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you" (John 15:15).
Tell God that you know you need Him, and that you want your relationship with Him to grow and become strong. Then learn to walk with Him every day.
How do you do that? First, take time to read a portion of His Word, the Bible, every day. Through it, you'll learn just how much He loves you, and how He wants you to live.
Then learn to pray about everything — not just asking God for help, but thanking and praising Him for the good things He gives you. In addition, ask God to give you Christian friends who can encourage and help you. Don't rely on your feelings, for they will fade. Learn instead to rely on Jesus Christ, and on the truth God has given you in His Word.
Q: I've gotten myself into a mess, and I don't know how to get out of it. I didn't have a happy home, and maybe that's why I took up with the first man who said he cared about me. Now I'm pregnant, and he's vanished. I wish I could start over. What can I do?
A: One of the hardest lessons most of us ever will learn is that we can't change the past. When we make wrong decisions, we must live with the consequences — and sometimes they're very difficult.
But does that mean you have no future, or that you can't start over? No, not at all — because God loves you and wants to help you. You can't erase the past, but with His help you can change the future, and I pray you will as you turn to Him in repentance and faith, and begin following Jesus. God's promise is for you: "I know the plans I have for you... plans to give you hope and a future" (Jeremiah 29:11).
What can you do? First, learn from the past. Don't go down the same road you've been on; don't seek love in wrong ways or from the wrong person. In addition, don't be tempted to end the life of the little one who is growing within you. Not only would it be wrong, but it could also fill you with guilt the rest of your life. Countless childless couples would be delighted to welcome your baby if you can't give him or her a good home.
Instead, turn to Christ and ask Him to come into your life as your Lord and Savior. Then seek out others who can encourage and help you — hopefully your family, but especially a church that will welcome you and help you grow in your faith.
BILLY GRAHAM is the founder of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Ass., headquartered in Charlotte, N.C.