The Reverend Billy Graham leaves a lasting legacy for the ages, already long established in the hearts and minds of millions around the world. Graham, the 95-year-old Christian evangelist and prayer partner to many Presidents, had not been feeling his best as of late. He was hospitalized shortly after his birthday celebration in November of 2013 for respiratory problems and has been resting at home near Charlotte, North Carolina since then. His son, Franklin, has reportedly said the ailing pastor is not even current in world events as would be the norm for Reverend Graham.
A change is happening, a change no one can stop, as the elder Graham continues to be blessed with each passing day. Suffering from Parkinson’s disease, hearing and vision loss and recent respiratory issues, Graham is surrounded by friends and family as he lives out his life. Never a complainer, Graham easily rests assured, knowing he did great works on Earth and his goals have been accomplished. The ever confident, optimistic character of one of the most admired men in the world, Graham remains humble in spirit and thanksgiving. To live in peace with no regret is the ultimate gift of life.
Rising to recognition in the mid 40’s, Graham went on to challenge every-day people to come to Christ. His message was simple and pure, much like his own life he attained on a daily basis. He never gave into temptation and avoided all exploits of his popularity. Even going so far as not being in an elevator alone with a woman besides his wife, Ruth. Graham’s attributes and character are commendable and honorable. He is almost like a living god, his shadow rising far above some of his peers with questionable pasts. Not one to boast or cast judgment, Graham simply turned his head and carried on the way that was intended.
Reverend Graham is to be revered for his pure life, a life of dedication and service. He escaped all the scandalous tales of woe many televangelists displayed, especially back in the 80’s. Others seem to copy his pattern through works of their own, but lacked the true gift Graham always had. There seemed to be another motive beyond leading people to Christ as they always concluded their message with pleas for monetary gifts.
Oral Roberts established a wonderful Christian University in Tulsa, Oklahoma, holding out for contributions to meet a goals of monetary gifts as he camped out in a tower. Jim Bakker and his wife Tammy Faye, set out plans for hotels and a amusement park, before Bakker caved into an affair. Jimmy Swaggert cried before millions with his remorse of engaging with a prostitute. The talks were endless, and unforgivable as Graham upheld his good name and continued a heartbeat across America and beyond with Christ’s message of redemption. Crusades featuring Graham, popular Christian singers and testimonials from all walks of life proved fruitful to expand his ministry. Reaching out amongst the world of 185 or more countries, Graham has been estimated at bringing over 215 million people to Christ.
The father of five traveled the world and conquered the quest he was given. Obedient to the Lord, he stayed true to himself , his family and those that adored him. He humbly accepted admiration, not as star status, but as a man who had done what he was called to do. Always the family man, he stayed committed to his sweetheart, Ruth, from Wheaton College in Illinois and raising his talented children. Losing Ruth, his soul mate and companion, several years ago, has obviously left a void, even with his huge family remaining.
The Billy Graham Evangelical Association does not deny making some profit along the way. Who can say much about that, as much has been given back to society and beyond. As sports stars and celebrities continue to make millions in the name of amusement, Billy Graham has enjoyed his fortune in a good and wholesome way. Never emotionally asking for money, the association has reaped the benefits of happy and willful givers. Paying for necessary expenses and outreach has gone a long way in spreading the word of Christ’s love and forgiveness through pamphlets, books and movies.
Reverend Billy Graham has a hope in his heart that he claimed long ago and has lived by, well demonstrated by his abundant life. The vision and belief he has shared over decades seems to outweigh the trivial problems we think are so big in this life. His perspective will last through the ages of time by his endearing legacy of hope of the hear-after.
Some of Billy Graham’s quotes:
My home is in Heaven. I’m just traveling through this world.
God has given us two hands. One to receive and one to give.
I’ve read the last page of the Bible. It’s all going to turn out alright.
Editorial by Roanne H. FitzGibbon