Do you understand the powerful call of God and are you ready to pay the price for it – The profound symbolism of Billy Graham’s simple casket.
So, I read Franklin Graham’s message on his Facebook page and also on The Cove Page about the Casket that his Father Billy Graham was going to be buried in and I got very emotional. All these emotions started bubbling inside me as I looked at the simple and yet very powerful symbol of the Casket behind a Pulpit and the accompanying words by Franklin.
On 23rd February, Franklin wrote these words:
“Yesterday afternoon my father’s body was brought from the funeral home to the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove in Asheville, NC. His simple plywood casket, like my mother’s, was hand built by convicted murderers at the Angola Prison in Louisiana about twelve years ago and seems to suit him. We have a Bible with him in the casket, and the casket is directly behind a pulpit. We felt this was symbolic since he stood behind a pulpit most of his life preaching the Gospel. Billy Graham preached about Heaven, wrote books about Heaven—now he is IN Heaven. His faith has become sight.”
And accompanying Franklin’s profound words was this very powerful, very touching image and symbol. Indeed simple Faith had become sight. A powerful, compelling, moving sight.
I think few people understand what A CALLING means. When you are called, there is this incredibly powerful and indescribable urge to leave everything and follow Jesus.
Nothing and no one can stop the craving to just please Jesus and live your life for him. It’s so strong and mighty, nothing else matters except following the man Jesus wherever he leads you.
I can certainly 1100% understand how Billy Graham could leave his family for months and go off for long crusades to preach the gospel.
Some people especially the unsaved or those who have never been called can not understand the compelling unstoppable force. And that is why some of the Liberal media like Washington Post have been writing wicked, inconsiderate, insensitive and outrightly inappropriate articles about Billy Graham, Franklin Graham and the rest of the Graham family.
But those who have been truly called, can understand it very well.
But to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
1 Corinthians 1:24-25
For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 22 For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness.
1 Corinthians 1:21-23
We understand the pull Moses must have felt that day he came across the burning bush in the desert. It’s probably the same pull Billy Graham felt that compelled him to go around the world preaching the gospel so that people could be freed from their spiritual bondages and oppression.
10 Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”
11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?”
12 So He said, “I will certainly be with you. And this shall be a sign to you that I have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.”
We understand the incredible force Paul must have experienced after his Damascus moment that caused God to turn his passion for persecution of the church into a mighty passion for preaching the gospel. Though Billy was not a Persecutor of the Church, he probably felt the same force push him to preach with such passion and commitment to presidents and all manner of world leaders.
13 “Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard from many people about this man, how much harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem. 14 And he has authority here from the chief priests to arrest all who call on Your name.”
15 But the Lord said to him, “Go! For this man is My chosen instrument to take My name to Gentiles, kings, and the Israelites. 16 I will show him how much he must suffer for My name!”
We understand the urge Jesus’s disciples felt when he called each of them and asked them to follow him. These men who had careers and families. Some Fishermen, Some Tax collectors, Some Doctors and yet they felt obliged to drop everything and follow Jesus immediately with simple childlike Faith where-ever he led them. It’s possibly the same Urge Billy Graham felt to just preach Jesus and make him known to the world and to be used as a vessel for the Lord.
18 And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. 19 Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 They immediately left their nets and followed Him.
Billy Graham, thank you very much for following the call of God with commitment, devotion and faithfulness. Thank you for leaving everything behind and fully giving your life to Jesus to do as he wished. I know he is happy he chose a man like you to serve and preach the gospel. You did a phenomenal job and we are so grateful for the many painful sacrifices you made and the intense pains and challenges you might have had to endure in service to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Some of the insensitive articles in the Liberal media though wanting to taint your image actually reinforce the testimony to the life of sacrifice you lived. They are a testament to your laser focused devotion to God and to kingdom business.
Our Faith is deeply strengthened.
And the powerfully symbolic picture of your simple plywood casket built by convicted murderers behind a pulpit you stood behind for over 80 years is just so emotional. So emotional!
You truly are a disciple of Jesus and you understood the calling of God, forsook everything for it, laid your life down for it, carried your cross with diligence and now Jesus has given you back that life that you so courageously and faithfully gave to him.
Thank you Billy.
26 “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. 27 And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.
Also published on Medium.