Rev. Billy Graham: RIP

By Dave Andrusko

When I purchased the second-in-my-lifetime brand new car last year, it came with Sirius XM.

Lo and behold I discovered that among the hundreds of different channels was The Billy Graham Channel (channel 145) which I subsequently learned was in conjunction with the evangelist’s 99th birthday on Nov. 7, 2017.

I’m old but not old enough to have heard Rev. Graham, who passed away Wednesday at age 99, at the height of his preaching powers. The channel, as is often the case with Sirius FX, was only for a while but during the month of November I heard a number of the young, charismatic pastor’s “simple” but incredibly powerful messages delivered to massive audiences all over the world.

It was not hard to understand why his pioneering use of radio and television to supplement his crusades was a gigantic success for many decades. As my church says, he “touched hearts, hurts, and hopes with the power of God’s love.”

The Rev. Graham’s son, the Rev. Franklin Graham, is much more outspoken on abortion than his father. But what Billy Graham did say in a column spoke volumes about his deep understanding of God’s forgiveness and of what abortion does not only to unborn children but also to their mothers.

Writing in the Christian Post in 2016, Michael Gryboski discussed a column that had just been published by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

A woman who revealed to the Rev. Billy Graham that her past abortion is now causing her to feel deep guilt and sorrow every time she sees children has asked if those feelings will ever subside.

“Maybe some women can go through an abortion and never feel guilty, but I’m not one of them. I feel terrible over what I did, and every time I drive by a school playground I’m almost consumed with grief. Will I ever get over this?” the unnamed woman asked in a question-and-answer column published by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association on Thursday.

Graham responded that while what she did “was wrong in God’s eyes,” she needed to know that God “has not rejected you or abandoned you.”

“He loves you, just as He loved the child that was growing in your womb (and is now, I am confident, safely in His presence),” wrote Graham.

“Furthermore, when Christ died on the cross, all your sins — without exception — were transferred to Him, and He took upon Himself the judgment you deserved. As the Bible says, ‘He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins’ (1 John 2:2).”

In 2011 Rev. Graham wrote, “Nearing Home: Life, Faith, and Finishing Well.” By all accounts, Rev. Graham finished his life well, although he had lost his beloved wife, Ruth, in 2007.

Here is a memorable quote from “Nearing Home” that could be the near-the-end-of-life scripture verse for any believer:

How do we overcome the perils that steal our zest for life? Let the promises of God’s Word, the Bible, uphold you every day. Turn constantly to Him in prayer, confident not only that He hears you but that even now Jesus is interceding for you. Focus your thoughts on Christ, and maintain your connection with other believers who can encourage and help you. The Bible’s words are true: “Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future … nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).