Q: My doctor just called to say I need to go back to the radiologist for another X-ray, because something suspicious showed up on the first one. But I can't face going back. I'm so frightened that I might have breast cancer. I know that's stupid, but I can't help it. Why is God doing this to me? — Mrs. K.K.
A: Elsewhere in your letter you mention that you've been following your doctor's advice to have an X-ray every year — and I commend you for this. God gave our bodies to us, and he wants us to do everything we can to take care of them.
What exactly is it you think God is doing to you? Perhaps you'd answer by saying he's giving you cancer — but that isn't true. First of all, you don't even know if you have cancer, and you won't know until it's been confirmed by further testing. But also, cancer is an evil disease — and God isn't the cause of evil. We live in a world where things go wrong, and God may permit them to happen, but he isn't to blame for them. The Bible says, "God cannot be tempted by evil" (James 1:13).
But let me suggest what God may be doing to you — and that is sparing your life. What if this is cancer, but it remains undetected and untreated? You know the result, and God doesn't want that to happen. Your fear is understandable, but God doesn't want you to be paralyzed by fear.
Instead, turn to Christ and find new strength in him. He loves you and will never abandon you, no matter what the future holds. "So do not fear, for I am with you... I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you" (Isaiah 41:10).
Q: We had a big debate the other day in our Bible study class about which is the more damaging emotion — anger or hatred. We couldn't decide, but wondered what you'd say. — C.D.
A: Both emotions are destructive, and it would be hard to say if one is more harmful than the other. And they usually go hand-in-hand; hatred almost always leads to anger, and anger almost always leads to hatred.
The real problem, however, is that both anger and hatred are seldom just inner feelings or emotions that we keep bottled up inside us. Instead, they almost always spill over into actions — and those actions are always destructive, both to us and to others. Even if we don't lash out and hurt someone physically, our words of anger and hatred can destroy our relationship. The Bible rightly says, "Hatred stirs up conflict" (Proverbs 10:12).
Does God ever get angry, or does he ever hate? It may surprise you, but the answer is "yes." But God's answer is far different from ours, because it comes from his hatred of sin. God loves us and knows the terrible things sin does to us — and that makes him angry. Perhaps you've heard the old saying, "God hates the sin, but he loves the sinner."
The real question, however, is this: Have we allowed the sin of hatred or anger to take root in our souls? The only lasting cure is to allow Christ to rule us, and let his love fill our hearts and minds every day. Make sure of your commitment to Christ, then ask him to give you a new love for others — even your enemies. The Bible says, "Be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble" (1 Peter 3:8).
(Send your queries to "My Answer," c/o Billy Graham, Billy Graham Evangelistic Assn., 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; call 1-(877) 2-GRAHAM, or visit http://www.billygraham.org.)