But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love Me and obey My commands.
Exodus 20:6 (NLT)
The passing of Dr. Billy Graham in February hit many people hard. Yes, he had been in declining health for some time—but for those of us who grew up during the Graham years, his departure from this earth to his heavenly home marks the end of an era.
I happened to begin 2018 by reading Anne Graham Lotz’ book entitled Why? Trusting God When You Don’t Understand. Over the past several decades, I have had the privilege of attending various events where Dr. Graham and Anne spoke, so their voices seemed to echo in my mind as I poured over each page. Much like her famous father, Anne’s focus is always on Jesus: Jesus the Son of God. Jesus who loved us so much He was willing to die for us. Jesus who rose from the grave. Jesus who wants everyone to be with Him in Heaven one day.
You see, while Billy Graham may be gone, his legacy lives on, as was evident when his son Franklin tweeted these words on February 21st:
“My father Billy Graham was once asked, ‘Where is Heaven?’ He said, ‘Heaven is where Jesus is, and I am going to Him soon!’ This morning, he departed this world into eternal life in Heaven, prepared by the Lord Jesus Christ—the Savior of the world—whom he proclaimed for 80 years.”
Billy and Ruth Graham had five children who learned about the Lord as they were raised by this devout couple. They weren’t perfect (what parent is!), and they’d be the first to admit it was difficult balancing a ministry to hundreds of millions while raising their family. Traveling the world and sharing the good news about Jesus were important—but the most significant audience was the Graham children. In a sense, Billy and Ruth strove to fulfill what was written long ago by the psalmist:
We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation
about the glorious deeds of the Lord, about His power and His mighty wonders.
The Graham legacy continues in the lives of Billy and Ruth’s children grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. The truths they taught about the Lord have allowed Anne to write a book like Why? that has helped countless people all over the world with words like these:
“Jesus died on the Cross, but praise God, He shed the grave clothes, and the Resurrection and the power and the glory followed! Don’t wallow in your ‘why’s?’ Don’t throw a pity party. Don’t remain in your misery. Don’t stop short of all God wants to do for you” (p. 133)
Dr. Graham has finally been reunited with his wife and so many other “forever family” members—and, best of all, with the Savior he served so faithfully for eight decades. My prayer is that each of us will take time this month to reflect and consider our personal legacies. What are we doing to leave behind truths of the Lord? Are there more ways we can share about His amazing gift of salvation? How are we impacting our most important legacy—our loved ones—so that they too can share this salvation message with generations yet to come?
Many blessings to you this month from the team at Sonkist Ministries!
Thought of the Month
let them proclaim Your power.