Famed evangelist Billy Graham has said that if he could change one thing about the world, it would be the hearts and minds of mankind, as evil and chaos won't end until all of humanity surrenders to Jesus.
The 98-year-old evangelist shared his thoughts in a recent "My Answer" column in response to a question posed by a reader: "If you could change just one thing about the world, what would it be?" the reader asked. "I suppose in some ways the world is a better place than it was a few centuries ago, but when I look at today's headlines it doesn't seem like we've made any progress, does it?"
"America's Pastor," who turns 99 on November 7, first acknowledges that the reader is right, as the human race has faced the same problems throughout history -- wars, famines, conflicts, immorality, loneliness, irrational evil -- despite advances in science and technology.
"The Bible's diagnosis is still true: 'Yet man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward' (Job 5:7)," he says.
What is our basic problem? The founder of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association contends that the basic problem is within our own hearts and minds.
"Even if we invent things that will bring great benefit to the human race, evil minds will use them to bring great destruction," he explains. "How else can you explain (for example) those who hack our computers or distribute dangerous drugs that can kill thousands? The prophet Jeremiah was right: 'The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?' (Jeremiah 17:9)."
Answering the readers' original question, Graham said if he could change "one thing" about the world, " it would be our hearts and minds."
"But I can't do that, and neither can anyone else-except God," he admits. "This is why we need Christ, for only He can change us from within by His Holy Spirit. And this can happen, as we turn to Him and invite Him to come into our lives as our Savior and Lord."
While we live in a world that's often "chaotic and evil," those who turn to Christ for forgiveness and new life can have peace, Graham said.
"Why not invite Christ into your life today?"
In a recent Facebook post, Billy Graham's son, Franklin, warned that the string of natural disasters unfolding around the world -- including the wildfires on the West Coast, violent hurricanes, and Mexico's magnitude 8.1 earthquake -- could be "Biblical signs before Christ's return."
He noted, Luke 21:25 reads, "There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves."
Matthew 24:7 says, "For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places."
The younger Graham said, "These are some of the Biblical signs before Christ's return. Nobody knows the day or hour, not even the Son of God, but it is a reminder to all of us to be ready to repent and confess our sins, and ask for God's forgiveness. In the meantime, we can find comfort, peace, and hope in Him."
The evangelist added, "As we pray for all those affected by the current disasters, we should also remember God's promise to us in John 16:33, 'I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world'."