Q: I heard that the Bible says the world is going to get worse and worse as the end of time approaches. Is that true? We've had some horrible crimes in our city lately, and I can't see how things can get much worse. — Mrs. K.P.K.
A: Yes, the Bible does indicate that as the time for Christ's return approaches, evil and social chaos may well intensify. The Bible says that "evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived" (2 Timothy 3:13).
Are we living in those days? Only God knows the answer to that; the Bible makes it clear that we aren't to predict the exact time of Christ's return or claim to know when it will happen. Jesus said, "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father" (Matthew 24:36). The world has faced terrible times before, and so have God's people.
At the same time, many of the signs or events that Jesus said must take place before His return are certainly in place. Never before, for example, has it been possible to penetrate virtually every corner of the world with the Gospel, as Jesus predicted (see Matthew 24:14).
Make it your goal to be faithful to Christ, no matter what happens in the world around you. We may be tempted to withdraw, or to react negatively to those who don't agree with us. But God loves them, and He wants to use us to share the good news of Christ's forgiveness and new life with them. Remember Jesus' words: "As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work" (John 9:4).
Q: I know it's too late for me to start over, but maybe you could warn people to stop and think about what they're doing when they're young. I know from personal experience that once you've messed up your life, it's impossible to get back on track. — H.J.
A: Thank you for your letter; I know it took courage for you to admit your failures and write to me about them. All too often, I'm afraid, people blame everyone else for what's gone wrong in their lives, instead of facing their own responsibility for what's happened.
But listen: It's not too late for you to make a new start in life — and you can, with God's help. No, you can't reverse the past or undo what's been done; unfortunately, bad decisions always have bad results. As the Bible warns, "The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction" (Galatians 6:8).
But the worst decision you could make right now would be to give up and assume that your life must always be like this. God loves you and doesn't want you to be stuck in the same rut you've been in. He wants to forgive your past and give you hope for the future — and it can happen as you give your life to Jesus Christ.
What difference will Christ make? First, He'll help you do what is right, as you commit each decision to Him in prayer and seek wisdom from His Word, the Bible. In addition, He'll surround you with people who care about you and can help you, as you become active in a church where Christ is preached and lived. God wants to put you on a new path — and He will, as you open your heart and life to Jesus Christ.
(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: http://www.billygraham.org.)