Billy Graham: The Surprise of Death, the Expectation of Heaven

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Billy Graham: The Surprise of Death, the Expectation of Heaven

Mr. Graham addressed a crowd at a football stadium in April 1954. (Credit: Edward Miller/Getty Images

Billy Graham spent 99 years, 3 months, and 20 days on this earth.

Over the past few years, I have wondered at times what it would be like to hear the news of his death. Even though I, and I am sure many others, expected it, it was still shocking when I heard that news this morning.

(Now, I’m watching the clock for Queen Elizabeth.)

It’s like waking up and realizing, Oh, the world is not the same as it was when I went to sleep. Something has shifted — shifted so tremendously that the world will never be the same.

Of course, Billy Graham has massive name recognition, and his absence will be noted by millions the world over. But, Death — the natural, yet unnatural scion of life — is always a surprise visitor.

However, I’m sure Billy smiled when Death looked down on him.

“You took a long time,” he probably said.

And in the grim set of Death’s jaw, he saw a returning grin (however ghastly the actual expression may have been). For Billy, Death was the handle on the door of Heaven.

As he rushed into Death’s embrace (because in those skeletal hands, he saw the nail-prints of the Savior), he probably thought belatedly, I should say something to those I’m leaving behind.

“Don’t cry for me,” he shouted over his shoulder. But he had gone too far too fast for us to hear him.