Written by Dave Lenehan
This week we are mourning, remembering, and honoring a man who brought the Truth of the Gospel of Jesus to millions of people over many decades. You likely have a memory moment from Rev. Dr. Billy Graham. Maybe it was a crusade you attended where you surrendered your life to Jesus. Perhaps you met Rev. Graham or heard him speak in another setting and God deeply moved you. While my memory is not spiritually significant, it had an impact on me as a boy that I will always remember.
Rev. Graham was going to speak in Massachusetts and was visiting historic Plymouth. Since we lived on nearby Cape Cod, my parents and I drove up to try to get a chance to see him. I remember that the crowd around him was massive. While I didn’t get to talk with him, I did get to shake his hand…just for a moment. I didn’t realize until many years later how God used this man with the crowd around him to share the message of Christ’s Hope with the world.
You may have received this email letter from Rev. Franklin Graham, but if not, I thought it was appropriate to share it here:
My father, Billy Graham, went into the presence of the Lord on February 21, 2018.
The Bible tells us in Revelation 14:13: “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord … that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them” (NKJV).
Many have said that his death ends an era, but he would be the first to say that when God’s ambassadors die in Christ, the Lord raises up others, because the preaching of the Gospel will go forward until the end of the age. God’s blessing continues as He opens doors for the Gospel around the world. BGEA remains committed to preach the Word in season and out of season across the globe.
My siblings and I would appreciate your prayers in the days ahead as we honor a man who served the Lord with his life, loved his family, and was always grateful for God’s faithful people who supported him in the work of the ministry in Jesus’ Name.
As we lay to rest this very public ambassador, please pray with us that the testimony he leaves behind will touch many lives and point them to salvation in Jesus Christ. My father’s journey of faith on earth has ended. He has been reunited with my mother and has stepped into the eternal joy of Heaven in the presence of his Savior, in whom he placed his hope.
If you would like to know more about my father’s life, share a memory, or read public visitation details, please visit BillyGraham.org.
God bless you, and thank you for your prayers for our family and the staff of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
One of our Event Production student workers here at Liberty University, Michael Flaspholer, shared this thought on Facebook yesterday that I think sums things up pretty well:
Imagine all the people Billy Graham never met who are introducing themselves to him for the first time right now. Thanking him, and showing him around the place that he told them about maybe for the first time. They’re probably partying like crazy right now. Now it’s our turn. We need to get together, pick the ball up, and keep running it for God. Rather than waiting for someone else to do it. Let’s go get ‘em!
“As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.” (Luke 9:51 NIV)
Rev. Graham knew his mission well and carried it out faithfully.
Jesus also knew his mission well. He purposefully, resolutely set out for Jerusalem. He knew the end, of course. He knew He would face opposition. He knew His death would come. But, that was His mission all along. From the moment he was born in the stable in Bethlehem until the moment “he gave us his spirit” on the cross, Jesus did not for a second turn away from His mission. We shouldn’t either.
In an interview with Diane Sawyer in 1992, Rev. Graham shared that he wasn’t sure that when he arrived in heaven he would hear the welcome from the Lord, “well done, good and faithful servant” from Matthew 25…but I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what he heard Our Heavenly Father say when he stepped into glory.