Saying Good Bye
Over the past week or so, I have watched the country say good-bye to a man who believed in the walk to Heaven. He has preached to Louis Zamperini and was known as the Pastor to the Presidents, as he prayed and advised many. He has loved so many people and so many have been touched by his passing. Even as he made his last trip from Montreat, NC to Charlotte, NC, the roads were lined with so many people who needed to say goodbye. I struggled to watch news report about him because for some reason losing him has brought forth in me so much emotion. I did not know him or his family, but he was just a person who seems to easily connect with people – thousands and thousands of people. This past Sunday night, I watch the short documentary and just cried, but I know that living or dead, Billy Graham belongs to God. “For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.” Romans 14:8. It feels like the world has lost something good. Someone who found the good when there seems to be so much hate. Rev. Billy Graham personally touched me at a trying time in my young life with his words, and for that I am thankful.
In November of 1987, I said another goodbye that caused more pain than I had felt in my 19 years of life. My grandmother, Zola Williams White, passed away. She was such a role model for me, and I saw and knew her love for Christ. What she and I failed to do was talk about death and her not being in my life one day. What would that be like? I was a Sophomore in College, I needed to know where she was or if she was. Seems strange to tell this story now, but back then without a laptop, smart phone, etc to do simple research, I began a journey to find some answers. “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” Hebrews 11:6
This journey began by finding Christian bookstores and visiting each looking for answers about Heaven. I looked at so much material. I read many, but we all know that there is not really an answer to be found. I have to stand in my faith just as she had done for some many years. I know looking back she was not afraid, but where I found my comfort was in a book written by Rev. Billy Graham. Facing Death and the Life After was published in 1987 released just about the time of her death. I feel like it was written for me, and reading this book began a turning point for me to walk in faith after being so angry with God about losing her. I realized that Heaven is a place that Christ promised us while on Earth. “In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?” John 14:2. I long to be there.
Goodbye is not Forever
So watching the funeral and events leading up the funeral have been painful knowing that a great man of God is not among us anymore, but how happy heaven must be to have Billy Graham home. One day I pray that I meet Billy Graham in heaven standing along side my grandmother who I know is loving both Christ and Billy today. How do I know? God’s Word Tells Me -“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119″105.
Closing Verse: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1
Challenge: Christ is challenging us to follow him and walk by faith.