The first news I heard when I woke up this morning was the passing of Billy Graham at age 99. There aren't enough words to say what an incredible man he was, and I have no doubt his loss will be felt around the globe. He was listed in the Top Ten Most Trusted People for 57 years. One poll asking "Who has done the most for religion in the world?" placed him second -- beaten only by God. He personally met and prayed with every American president from Truman to Trump. By the standard estimates, his crusades drew a total crowd of nearly 215 million people, and his faithful evangelism led over 3 million souls to saving faith in Jesus Christ.
That's what made Billy Graham so special, so unique. He had no political agenda of his own. He didn't stump for candidates or push for voters to join the Religious Right or Moral Majority. He didn't set himself up as a great leader of denominations, even though we gave him the nickname of "Protestant Pope." He was simply Billy Graham, preacher of Jesus Christ. He never preached himself, but only Christ crucified and risen. He knew that a relationship with Jesus was the only thing that truly mattered, and that's what he wanted everyone to have. While he preached, he had no scandals, no mutinies, no family problems. As his daughter Gigi once told me, he truly was the man on the stage: just a humble servant of his God.
I could use entire posts for weeks to speak of his awards, his accomplishments, his fights for civil rights and moral accountability. But I'll end with his own words, how he felt as he saw his own death approaching: “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.”
Welcome home, good and faithful servant. Welcome home.