February 22–Dr. Billy Graham

“If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.” Mark 9:23

Seldom have we heard a better definition of faith than was given once in one of our meetings, by a dear old woman, as she answered the question of a young man how to take the Lord for needed help. In her characteristic way, pointing her finger toward him, she said with great emphasis: “You’ve just got to believe that He’s done it and it’s done.” The great danger with most of us is that, after we ask Him to do it, we do not believe that it is done, but we keep on helping Him, and getting others to help Him; and waiting to see how He is going to do it.

Faith adds its “Amen” to God’s “Yea,” and then takes its hands off, and leaves God to finish His work. Its language is, “Commit thy way unto the Lord, trust also in him; and he worketh.” (Streams in the Desert)

One of God’s choice servants entered his reward yesterday. Dr. Billy Graham passed away at 7:46 am at the age of 99 due to complications of his advanced age. His death signals the passing of an era, but because of his faithfulness to the Lord Jesus Christ and God’s blessing upon his commitment to preach the Word in season and out of season, the worldwide evangelistic ministry of Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association continues around the world. I remember where I was the first time I heard Billy Graham preach. It was the 1968 Houston crusade held in the brand new Houston Astrodome, and I was proudly carrying the Bible my grandmother had given me for Christmas. I can’t remember what was said or who was with Dr. Graham, but I do recall that the air smelled like plastic and cotton candy, an odd but unforgettable olfactory combination. I next attended the Billy Graham crusade in Houston at Rice Stadium, accompanied by my aunt and uncle, as well as several other members of my flock in East Texas. My senior project at East Texas Baptist College under the tutelage of Dr. Potts was a study of Dr. Graham’s methods in mass evangelism. Although I never met him personally, I continue to encounter him through his books and preaching, and I have the privilege of serving with his son Franklin through Samaritan’s Purse.

The verse to be used for services in Dr. Graham’s memory is Revelation 14:13: “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord…that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.” The world will be watching with interest as one of God’s great ambassadors is laid to rest. His journey of faith on earth has ended. Dr. Graham has stepped into the eternal joy of Heaven and is in the presence of the One in whom we place our hope. This hope is that all intrepid believers will extend their journey through eternity; the only thing in question is what trail we will leave behind for others to follow.

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