5 May 2019 From Rev Tom’s Desk

Last night at Bron’s recommendation, Evonne and I watched a documentary/film based on the life of Billy Graham on Netflix.  I had already read Graham’s book called ‘Just as I am’ and it was an amazing read of an amazing person.  But the film was even more amazing because you could hear his comments, those of his family and of others who served with him throughout the world.

The film started out with his early life growing up on a farm in North Carolina to the moment when he was converted at a tent meeting held by a travelling evangelist right through to his last crusade in 2005 and his death last year in February 2018.  In the film we saw video of his meetings with tens of thousands of people at many venues over many days and sometimes weeks.  New York city’s streets, for example in one crusade, were blocked by crowds not rioting or protesting but rejoicing, listening feverishly, hanging on every word that Graham preached about Jesus.

Yet at one time early on in his evangelistic ministry in the late 1940’s, he had a time of significant doubt.  It was a doubt sown into his life by others around him who challenged him about whether he could trust the Bible as being God’s word and therefore, was it reliable.  It was a time of personal crisis, even though he’d specifically heard the Lord speak to him calling him into his ministry.  It came to a head when he finally declared to himself that by faith he believed everything that the Bible taught because it was God’s Word into a lost world about Jesus giving His life in our place, and there was nothing else that could come even close to what it said.  From that moment on, he never looked back and never again ever questioned his faith in God and His ways with/for us.

The rest is known to us.  He met and prayed with every American President since Truman at the end of WWII.  He met and prayed with countless other world leaders, many of whom attended his funeral out of respect for the man.  But Graham would have said that his greatest blessing just had to be that he could have been a spokesman for the name of Jesus and the power of His blood shed for us all for the forgiveness of our sin and our following reconciliation with God.  Why?  Because as so many on the film said of him, he was the most humble and loving man that they ever knew.  In the face of what God called him to do, he could be none other.  In the presence of our extraordinary God who humbled Himself, making Himself a little lower than the angels and coming to us as a man just so that He would be raised up and exalted for our benefit, none of us can have room for pride.  Jesus showed us the way in which to walk, and just as Billy Graham did in Jesus’ name, so we are called to do and to be the same whoever we are and wherever we are planted.