Billy Graham, who recently turned 95, is ailing from respiratory problems and has been taken to a hospital for observation. The beloved Christian evangelist has suffered from Parkinson’s disease since 1992 and has had a myriad of other health issues over the years. Despite his hearing and vision loss, the aged icon of religious leaders has remained alert and in tune with the world. He no doubt has pondered the approaching anniversary date of the death of President John F. Kennedy, marking 50 years on November 22. Billy Graham may just well be planning a tee time with JFK in the near future.
People do not live forever, as even such a Godly man as Graham will not escape death. The fact that he is 95, sadly whispers the inevitable. Although Graham has always been strong, recovering from prostrate cancer, pneumonia and broken hips in the past, he is a man at peace with life and death. He has many friends and loved ones on either side of Heaven’s gate. The world will be greatly saddened when the time comes, as Graham has left a lasting legacy.
Graham is a remarkable and powerful figure in American history, advising presidents and leaders for decades. He may well have more to do on Earth as he bounces back again from this latest illness. Time will tell his destiny, as earthly citizens pray for his health and well-being, yet loved ones beyond await his arrival. The heart and soul of a man can sometimes set the time to move on, as Graham rests assured of his eternal home.
Reverend Graham was just a year and a half younger than the late President John F. Kennedy. Growing up in the same era, the men had a lot in common, but differed on some issues. Graham was concerned about supporting a member of the Catholic faith as president, and quietly campaigned on the opposing side. Once JFK was in office, the two mended their ways and spent time in deep conversation. They even played a few rounds of golf together, discussing their faith and the world beyond. It is said that Graham had a premonition about Kennedy’s death, but did not have the opportunity to warn him. It could be almost time for a heavenly tee time between the two gentlemen.
Graham rose to national recognition in 1949 as a Southern Baptist evangelist and continued his ministry around the world through numerous crusades, media publications, books and films. He has prayed with presidents from both political parties and has been an inspiring, discerning sage of wisdom and comfort. Doing his best to remain neutral in his political views, his deep concern for the nation has always been evident.
He has traveled the globe to spread the gospel, leading millions to Christ and remained dedicated to his wife Ruth and their five children. In recent years, Graham has spent his retirement from public speaking near Charlotte, North Carolina and has left the duties of The Billy Graham Evangelic Association up to his son Franklin. His wife Ruth passed away in 2007, so Billy has been biding his time alone with books, friends and family.
In his book, Just As I Am, Graham mentioned how John F. Kennedy asked about the after life. Departing from a round of golf, the conversation seemed point to JFK’s desire to know more about spiritual things. Time and other obligations got in the way, as JFK was sadly gone too soon. It could be as time grows shorter for Reverend Graham, the conversation will continue with a tee time in Heaven.
Life is unpredictable for everyone. A vibrant young man of 44 can be shot down in an instant as others seem to live forever. The message of life seems to be a treasure to hold onto each day. As we remember the passing of John F. Kennedy, we also remember the great citizens of our world and the legacies they are leaving. Billy Graham has done enough in his one lifetime to equal the lives of thousands. As millions are concerned for his health, the life lessons they have learned from Graham assure them that life continues after death.
Editorial by Roanne H. FitzGibbon