Today is Billy Graham’s 94th birthday — and the evangelist said he’s looking forward to whatever else the Lord has for him.
never expected I would live this long, outliving my beloved wife, Ruth,
as well as many friends and loved ones,” Mr. Graham said. “I believe God
must still have a purpose for keeping me here, and I look forward to
seeing what that might be.”
When I was a teenager, I was a counselor at a Billy Graham crusade in Minneapolis. The scope of the event was amazing. Each night, we were bussed in to the Metrodome, the football stadium of the Minnesota Vikings. The stadium filled with people every night — people who heard the message of the Gospel. There was an altar call each night as people went forward to either accept or learn more about the message of Jesus. I’m no longer convinced that this type of evangelism is the best — there are stats that show the importance of follow-up and discipleship in people’s lives when it comes to massive crusades like this. However, there is no way to deny the unmistakable influence Billy Graham has had on the kingdom of God. Millions around the world have heard about Jesus because of Graham’s work.
At age 94, Graham is finishing his 31st book (31st!) which talks about the simple truths of God’s love and forgiveness. He was involved in this year’s political process, and his son Franklin has continued in ministry through Samaritan’s Purse. Graham has had a busy life. I once saw a documentary on him, outlining all he had done: the millions of people he spoke to, the leaders who sought out his advice. Graham and his family made many sacrifices over the years. He was gone a lot while his children grew up, and his wife, Ruth, took on a lot of responsibility.
The life Billy Graham has led would probably not be for everyone. But I am grateful for the influence he has had and for the message he preached.