I get to work early every day to make sure everything is working like it should. Wednesday was pretty normal, so I opened the Drudge Report like I do every day…and I saw that red link. Billy Graham had died. The human side of me wasn’t that surprised. I mean, the man was 99 years old. Knowing the frailty of man, 99 years is a whole lot of birthdays.
For the Christian in me though, I can’t remember a more central figure of the Christian life during my lifetime than Billy Graham. This is not to deify the man. He would be quick to tell you that he was a fallible sinful man. One that stood in need of Christ’s sacrifice as much as the next man. In his lifetime though, there is no count to the millions of folks that he brought to Christ. Jesus saves, but Billy brings them to Him was a joke I heard a lot.
Yet, Billy would probably quote Psalm 146:3-5 to anyone who tried to build him up too much. Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save. When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing. Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob; whose hope is in the Lord their God.
To the Christian, death is merely another step in our journey. To be absent from the body is to be in the presence of the Lord. My wife and I were recently talking about lament for the lost. I believe with all my heart that Christ sees us when we mourn. He knows what it is to mourn for a lost loved one. Yet, it is in that same Jesus that Billy Graham spoke to millions that our hope rests secure. Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer, and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1-3
Will the Graham’s lament this loss? Could you be human and not? Of course, there will be times over the days and months ahead when a tinge of sadness will overtake them. His daughter, Anne Graham Lotz posted a picture on her Facebook page this morning of her dad and her husband who is also deceased. The text reads simply, “My two favorite, dearly beloved men are together again! Looking up with tears on my face.” So, of course, there are tears. But a simple prayer request was offered up today during our devotion, “Let this be a great day for the Gospel.”
The life of Billy Graham is something to be celebrated the world over. Any Christian born in the last 75 years has somehow been touched by the ministry of Reverend Billy Graham. Though just an image, in my mind, when Billy reached his great getting up morning, when he walked before St. Peter, I have a feeling that St. Peter just waived him on in. Just imagine, the millions that greeted him on the other side of that gate. Ones that may have never heard the Gospel, had it not been for him.
It bears the question, if one man can do so much for the Gospel, what am I doing?
“‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” Matthew 25:23