With this blog, I’m going to “veer off” the road to Easter to allow us to reflect on the life and influence of Dr. Billy Graham.
“Billy,” as everyone knew him went home to be with Jesus and his beloved Ruth on Wednesday, ending a 99-year life and an epic impact and testimony for the Gospel. None will ever leave as deep of tracks in the sand as this man.
Graham was unwavering in his preaching, and in his private and personal lifestyle. I had the privilege of hearing him the first time in person at my seminary graduation in 1990. I was proud to walk across the platform and receive my doctorate with none other than THE Billy Graham watching!
I heard him later at two other, evangelistic crusades, but none felt as personal as that moment on my graduation day. I don’t remember making a pledge to make him proud or promise to be just like him, but I wish I had.
While Billy’s voice has been silenced by age for a long time now, his voice still rings into our hearts through recorded crusades. And while his preaching was amazing, the thing that lives longest in memory for me about him is his character: his love for wife and family, and his determination to live and not bring shame to the Gospel and the Lord he loved, and the care he took to guard his character.
How we are desperate for his example today… a man with moral steel in his spine and a sober stare on his face. A preacher with a God-given burden for the lost. A man who could come alive in front of thousands, but do so because he smoldered within in his private devotion when no one saw, and no cameras recorded.
I grow weary with the showmen and personalities who model themselves after Billy and yet show nothing of his inner fire and integrity. God bring us another Billy Graham who does not back down, and who can sit with presidents, queens, celebrities or the masses… and see them all the same.
Billy deserves all the accolades we can speak about him. He needs to be emulated, studied, written about and reproduced. He has more than earned his rest. But with everything that can be written and said to celebrate this man, remember:
Nobody gives crowns like Heaven.