CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- It’s been a quick 12 months; 12 months since we lost the man many called “America’s Preacher.”
Rev. Dr. Billy Graham died at his home in Montreat on Feb. 21, 2018, and the last 365 days have been busy for the person who carries Graham’s legacy, his son Franklin.
On this the one-year mark since his father’s death, Franklin Graham is leading a six-city crusade in Australia commemorating the 60th anniversary of when his father did something similar in that country.
He says it’s something his father would have wanted.
“He wouldn’t want us sitting around moping,” Graham told me during a recent interview at the Graham homeplace on the grounds of the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte. “He would say, ‘Franklin, you’ve got a job to do.’”
In fact, it’s how Graham and the family have been dealing with the grief during the last year.
“You just do what God’s called us to do,” he said. “And there’s nothing else you can do except keep working and preaching and telling people about a savior that loves them, about a God that sent his son from Heaven to this earth to take our sins.”
That was the theme of Billy Graham’s funeral, which marked the end of a nine-day period between his death and burial.
“There were moments when we were tired, no question,” Graham said, referring to that week. “But the outflow of love from people, if anything it gave us energy.”
Graham says he fondly remembers spending hours in the Capitol building in Washington shaking hands of well-wishers and traveling in the motorcade that carried his father’s casket from Asheville to Charlotte for the funeral as thousands lined the highways.
But despite those pleasant memories, he doesn’t hesitate to point out he still feels as if something’s missing.
“I think I miss my father’s prayers,” he said. “And I think there was a sense of ‘covering’ when you have a mother and father praying for you. I think my father’s ministry for the last five years of his life (when he was homebound for health reasons) was praying for the family.”
Graham’s death did prompt his son to finish and release his latest book, “Through My Father’s Eyes.” He says it’s not a book about his father.
“It’s a book of lessons that I learned from him, the example he set. But more importantly it’s a reflection on my father in Heaven,” he said.
In terms of what he hopes people will remember about his father on the one-year anniversary of his death, it’s something that’s been consistent from the beginning:
“That he was faithful to his calling. And that was to preach Jesus Christ, the son of God who took our sins and God raised to life. And he’ll come into each and every heart that is willing to trust him.”
For more information on the Billy Graham Library, click here.