Yesterday, the news came that after 99 years, Billy Graham had departed the planet for his heavenly homecoming. What a host of heavenly reunions he surely encountered, but I imaging they had to wait for Billy to finish his moments kneeling at the feet of Jesus... or until Jesus told him to "Stand up and let me hug you, you God and faithful servant."
I can only imagine it... but it is fun to imagine. When it comes to servanthood and a faithful life, Billy Graham was a champion, like a Super Bowl Champion, only bigger and better. Still, that image helps me relate. I remember how exciting it was to watch the Philadelphia Eagles this past Super Bowl. The excitement was contagious for the Eagles. How much more it must have been for Billy's arrival in heaven!
Billy Graham was an MVP among leaders of the faith. He strived to stay close to the heart of God and walk "the ancient path" so he would not be distracted by fame or lured by fortune. He was simply a man on a heavenly mission, commissioned by God, coached by Jesus and with the Holy Spirit whispering in his ear to guide and direct. There are so many great, spirit-inspired quotes that I could easily share a new one every day for month.
He preached with confidence, but there was a humility, wisdom and peacefulness in his spirit that made him popular with government leaders and even queens. He could preach the truths of the Bible, even the unpopular ones, and do it with love and a heart broken for those who were carrying burdens, fears and anxiety they were never meant to carry any further than the cross of Jesus.
So many posted yesterday. I discovered he was the first Youth for Christ full time employee. Mama Ina Mae was on the original board that started YFC in the Kankakee/Iroquois County area. How did I miss that part of the history? Thanks Ben Meils! I discovered a special friend, from my Bible Journaling group and Bible Study, accepted Christ at a Billy Graham Crusade many years ago (oh, Jann... that is so special). I never saw him in person. MMR (Mary Margaret Reed) posted a great picture of Billy Graham preaching.
Then, my friend Susan Gilroy Cunningham posted this:
“Someday you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it. I shall be more alive than I am now. I will just have changed my address. I will have gone into the presence of God". Billy Graham (11/7/18-2/21/18)
“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”Philippians 1:21
Thank you Susan. That will finish this gratitude post perfectly.
If I were Billy's family, that would go on my grave marker. "More alive than I am now."
Testimony to the truth that sets us free from the penalty of death. Grace paid the wages in Jesus blood. Love calls each of us to carry the gospel to those who have not heard. I wonder if Billy is still hugging Jesus?
Today, I am grateful for the life and legacy of Billy Graham.