Ministering in Times of Tragedy

Mr. Graham offered the hope of Christ to those in shock and grief

Ministering in Times of Tragedy

Mr. Graham offered the hope of Christ to those in shock and grief

Billy Graham, sometimes called “America’s Pastor,” was often called upon to bring comfort, prayer or a word from Scripture during disasters, both in the United States and in other countries. His compassion and humility touched many in the aftermath of events such as the 1976 earthquake in Guatemala; the 1977 cyclone in Andhra Pradesh, India; 1989 earthquakes in Armenia and California; Hurricane Andrew in Homestead, Fla., in 1992; and after the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995.

As Mr. Graham spoke of God’s comfort and the need for all people to consider their standing before God, BGEA’s World Emergency Fund responded by providing physical aid.

Mr. Graham leads a prayer with President George W. Bush and others at the Day of Prayer and Remembrance.


In one of America’s darkest hours, Mr. Graham encouraged the country to pray.

Never was Mr. Graham’s presence more comforting to America than at the National Day of Prayer and Remembrance on Sept. 14, 2001, three days after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. At the invitation of President George W. Bush, the 82-year-old evangelist spoke at an emotional memorial service in Washington, D.C. “This event reminds us of the brevity of life and the uncertainty of life,” Mr. Graham said. “We never know when we too will be called into eternity.” Below is an excerpt from his message that day.

Today we come together in this service to confess our need of God. We’ve always needed God, from the very beginning of this nation. But today we need Him especially. We’re involved in a new kind of warfare. And we need the help of the Spirit of God.

The Bible says, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea” (Psalm 46:1-2, NIV).

We’ve seen so much that brings tears to our eyes and makes us all feel a sense of anger. But God can be trusted, even when life seems at its darkest.

I have been asked hundreds of times why God allows tragedy and suffering. I have to confess that I do not know the answer. I have to accept, by faith, that God is sovereign, and that He is a God of love and mercy and compassion in the midst of suffering.

[As] difficult as it may be for us to see right now, this event can give a message of hope—hope for the present and hope for the future. There is hope for the present because the stage, I believe, has already been set for a new spirit in our nation. There also is hope for the future because of God’s promises. As a Christian, I have hope, not just for this life, but for Heaven and the life to come.

My prayer today is that we will feel the loving arms of God wrapped around us and that as we trust in Him we will know in our hearts that He will never forsake us. May God bless you all.

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