‘God Knows Your Heartaches’

By   •   November 3, 2010

November 2010: In a few days I’ll be 92. I would have never dreamed I would live this long. My wife, Ruth, passed away a little over three years ago, and a little bit of me died with her. I miss her more with each passing day. This was Ruth’s favorite time of year. She enjoyed watching the leaves turn and couldn’t wait to build a fire at the first hint of autumn. Always joyful, Ruth brightened up the darkest of days.

Foreboding clouds darken the world this side of Heaven as controversy swirls over the debate “who is a Christian.” USA Today ran an article last month by a professor from the University of Chicago stating, “America’s fastest-growing brand of belief is non-belief.” Confronted with the myriad of religions in the world, it isn’t difficult to see why people are finding it easier to accept them all–or none at all.

But having faith in religion only clouds the truth. It brings greater confusion and deeper doubt, because religion can be anything! The Bible indeed sheds light on this dilemma that stirs in the human soul and carries the truth of redemption by the death of our Savior and His glorious resurrection. This is truth–God coming to man in a personal relationship. This is why He sent His Son to earth to redeem the human soul from sin that leads to despair.

The Bible says, “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding” (Ephesians 1:7–8, NIV).

Recently Dr. Mark O’Farrell, president of Trinity College in Florida (where I attended Bible school as a young man), sent me the school’s newsletter with a wonderful insight from Scripture. He is graciously allowing me to share this tremendous spiritual application with you as to the state of despair that so many are experiencing today.

The Bible tells of the children of Israel who were enslaved in Egypt. One of their major tasks was to make bricks by an ancient process that required mixing clay and straw. The Egyptian taskmasters stopped providing the necessary straw, ordering the laborers to find their own straw, but with no adjustment in the quota of bricks they were required to produce. What was necessary to accomplish the work was taken away even though the expectation and demands remained the same.

Have you experienced this kind of despair–having to make bricks without straw? The income is no longer there, but the bills keep coming. Resources and workers are cut, but not the workload. Age or health robs strength, but life’s duties remain. A wife or husband is gone, yet family responsibilities continue. What is your straw that has been taken away even though you must somehow still complete the task or fulfill the responsibility?

The Bible says, “The people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. … God heard their groaning. … God saw the people of Israel–and God knew” (Exodus 2:23–25, ESV). God knows your heartaches! He hears you when you cry to Him. He knows that your straw has been taken away. He knows your hurt, your fear and groaning. He knows! And He is doing something about it. “I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them” (Exodus 3:7).

The Deliverer is on the way! How God acts on your behalf may not be exactly the way you envision, and His timing may not be what you prefer, but He knows your situation and He remembers His promises to you.

Going through hardship tends to plow up the surface of our lives to uncover the depths that provide greater strength of purpose. Deeply plowed earth yields bountiful harvests. When difficulties come we must learn to entrust each day into God’s hands and express our thanks to the Lord for never leaving us alone. I have talked with many over the years who have fallen on hard times but found light in the darkness while expressing thankfulness to God.

As we approach the Thanksgiving season I am reminded of the many commands in God’s Word to be thankful in all things. “Begin the thanksgiving in prayer” (Nehemiah 11:17, KJV); “Come into his presence with thanksgiving” (Psalm 95:2, ESV); and then the Scripture urges us to “Continue in prayer … with thanksgiving” (Colossians 4:2, KJV).

There is no better time than now to thank all those who have stood with us in prayer and support in the work God is doing through the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. I am grateful for each one who joins with us in reaching out to where the Gospel seed is being sown. There remain nations to be cultivated and souls to be redeemed. There are harvest lands of great promise.

I long to tell more people about God’s truth and the salvation it brings when people repent and turn to the Lord Jesus Christ who loves us and longs to hear our lips praise Him for the mighty works He has done. Perhaps the Lord will strengthen me in the coming year to once again stand with Bible in hand to declare with thanksgiving that salvation is found in the Lord Jesus Christ, rich in mercy and love. The Bible says, “For [God’s] mercy reaches unto the heavens, and [His] truth unto the clouds” (Psalm 57:10, NKJV).

May God bless you,
Billy Graham

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  1. Kim says:

    Thank you Dr. Billy Graham for your great encouraging words. I have always strongly believed in what you have preached and would love to meet you. You are an inspiration to us all and I think hearing you in person would make a difference for me. I just wish there were more people on this earth like you, there are many many Christians but you are the closest to God we can get. I hope you are doing better and thanks for your teachings of the Bible I hope the Lord lets you continue to stay with us and he takes us all together lots of love in God. Kim

  2. maritta says:

    May God keep you in his care as your are recovering in the hospital. You have touched so many people with your preaching and telling it like it is. Your so compassionate about your belief and that is what inspires me every day. Your old crusades that I watch every Saturday night at 10 p.m. in Staten Island, New York is marvelous. Praise the Lord.Thank you for loving all of us,God Bless you,Maritta

  3. Barbara says:

    You are what you might call a God sent, God bless you Dr. Graham.



  5. Jane says:

    Mr. Graham,You are the person that stands out in my heart and mind that has done the most in this Century to truly spread worldwide the word of our Lord Jesus Christ. May you and your family always be blessed, and have a Merry Christmas!

  6. ERIK says:


  7. Bunny says:

    Thank You, Dr. Graham, You have been such a blessing to me in times of needs and not. Keep on blessing those and reaching out like God has given you the strength to do in all these years. Keep leading those to the Lord and thank you for listening to God's calling on your life. Happy Birthday

  8. Diane says:

    Thank you so very much for your letter. Your message of encouragement from the LORD is very much appreciated in times such as these. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34 Please continue to share with us in the days ahead. May God bless you!

  9. Denny says:

    Blessed Birthday and Thank you for doing like Hudson Taylor and “holding to God's faithfulness” in preaching, mobilizing for, and living the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ these many years! When I was in my childhood and youth, you were like a clarion call, reminding me of life's top priority. In my college years, your steadfast proclamation spurred me on to say “no” to the world and “yes” to God's call. My dear wife Patty of 38 years, with the Lord since 2008, served with me in fulltime evangelism, then, overseas for 10 years, to work with OMFI among Muslims in the Philippines. These last 20 years I have been salt and light in California public schools. I praise God for your good words and works, and glorify our Father Who is in Heaven and dwells within us. I love you as a father in the Faith, and thank God for your family and all your associates.

  10. Maxine says:

    Dr. Graham, I thank God for your love for the Lord. Your messages reflect this in every word you utter. So many times the words you speak are what I need to hear when there seems to be no solution to my pain or suffering. But I've learned God is always there in his time, not mine. What a blessing. I saw you in person in K.C., Mo. the last time you were there.