“There was a little city, and few men within it; and there came a great king against it, and besieged it, and built great bulwarks against it. Now there was found in it a poor wise man…” (Ecclesiastes 9:14-15a)
Billy Graham passed away earlier today. One of God’s fiercest and most effective warriors has been called to Heaven’s shores (“The angels beckon me/From Heaven’s distant shore”). Having reached 2.2 billion people, his contract, his charter has been fulfilled (if I may) and the onus is now on us to preach the Gospel in a simple and effective way at the Lord’s leading.
“…and he by his wisdom delivered the city; yet no man remembered that same poor man.” (Ecclesiastes 9:15b)
I wonder about this sometimes. I would see Graham’s books at the bookstore and realize he was getting up there in years, wonder when he would be taken home. I knew he’d been a warrior for God and that the Lord had used him in ways I don’t see happening in the same way today. One touchstone I have for my life is when my dad would speak about his time as an unsaved individual hearing Graham’s sermons on the television in the living room. He’d see Billy Graham on one of his crusades and promptly exit the room. Graham’s very presence would convict my dad of sin—this was before he knew the Lord. After he got saved in 1967, he had nothing but good things to say and respect for him. Graham was so effective in the things of God that God was able to touch as many people as he did, through his ministry.
This world is like the city spoken of by Solomon in the passage from Ecclesiastes at the top of the page. One of the things I notice is that humanity is all too content to forget the past and move on, free from the constraints the Gospel places on human behavior and interaction. It is so, so easy to forget God and, by extension, the very people He uses to bring His message to the world. Billy Graham has left the building ladies and gentlemen. Let us not forget his discipline and way of living and speaking. He truly was God’s Ambassador for this generation, nay, this era.
The “great king”, the devil, is going to try again—going to seek to fill the void left by Graham’s absence. Nothing to be afraid of, no. It’s just the way of spiritual warfare. This is how the enemy operates. Let us seek the Lord and receive what He has for us in light of the times in which we live. They may be different than Graham’s but that’s okay. Christ is enough.