On long car journeys, as kids, we would regularly listen to Larry Norman singing, ‘I’m only visiting this planet’. That lyric got me through a good deal of minor disappointments and anxieties in my youth. Back in the 80s, I didn’t realise that the Christian rockstar was probably quoting Billy Graham! Scrolling through the tributes tonight, I see he said the same thing:
I’m just passing through this world.
It makes me happy to think of the party that must be going on in heaven right now! Today he is experiencing all the truth and wonder that he spoke about.
The moment we take our last breath on earth, we take our first in heaven.
The most thrilling thing about heaven is that Jesus Christ will be there. I will see Him face to face. Jesus Christ will meet us at the end of life’s journey.
As I read the articles and tributes today, I feel I am learning so much about Billy Graham for the first time. One article in the New York Times mentions an interview with his daughter, where she tells of a dinner she was taken to in 1998 during Bill Clinton’s impeachment scandal. She and her Daddy say with Bill and Hilary and were so gracious to them over dinner. Some couldn’t believe it, but, as she said,
Daddy always taught us that we are to love, the Holy Spirit convicts, and God judges. The problem is that some Christians try to do all three.
I’m sure many of you have your own favourite quotes, maybe memories of hearing him preach, or even stories of meeting Billy and Ruth Graham. Maybe you became a Christian at one of his rallies! I know the couple had some involvement in the initial discussions that led to the birth of Activate, over 50 years ago. We owe so much to him for inspiring us to share the gospel, preaching the message of Christ’s freedom and forgiveness.
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.