Wednesday, 21 February 2018

THE PASSING OF BILLY GRAHAM

"Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever" (Daniel 12: 3)

Following the passing of world evangelist Billy Graham on 21st February, 2018, many millions of people around the world are looking back with humble thanksgiving to the event and day that brought them under the ministry of the man whose preaching led them to faith in Christ.
                               


                                                                                             (PHOTO: Richard Bewes)

It may have been a meeting in a great stadium, a programme through television, film or satellite - or the power of the printed page - that first awakened so many to the claims of Christ.  The fact is that a farmer’s boy, raised in the Blue Ridge mountains of North Carolina, has been called Home to God after a lifetime of making Christ known in no less than 185 countries that he visited with his team ... and whole towns and societies breathed more easily as a result.

The labour of it all was immense. As Billy Graham’s chairman in the  great three-week ‘Mission 89’ campaign in London, I remember once having to wake him up at the back of the stadium before preaching - so drained was he after a day of exhausting interviews.   As he has confessed, "I would stand up once again to speak, completely devoid of strength - and then would sense a power descending upon me.  I put this down to the prayers of so many who were supporting us around the world."


                                      At Wembley Stadium in the rain - July 1989

The statistics surrounding this - the first truly world evangelist we have ever had - are common knowledge.  Even by the 1960s, Billy Graham had addressed more people face to face than any orator - secular or religious - in the whole of history - and that is leaving aside television and radio, the printed page, films and satellite technology.  By the time of his passing he had addressed audiences totalling no less than 210 million people.  His departure leaves many generations moved with gratitude that God kept Billy Graham for our own time.

Blessed now in his passing, Billy can rest from his labours.  But his deeds follow him with eternal effect, not only in heaven, but in families, nations and organizations that were permanently touched by his faithful obedience to Christ’s Call. The secret behind it all?  It was simple indeed: God could trust Billy Graham.

During a visit to the USA in 2012, Pam and I were blessed to visit him in his very simple home in Montreat – built of logs many years ago (see picture below) – and to have fellowship with him in prayer and with the Scriptures.  Pam was able to tell him, “I first heard you when I was seven!”  


And now he’s gone. World-wide, people for generations to come will continue to draw inspiration from this, the most widely effective proclaimer of Christ’s Gospel since the days of the New Testament apostles.

His works will follow him into all eternity ...

--ooOoo--