My Father is in Heaven!

These past weeks I have sensed a crowd gathering at Heaven’s gate in anticipation of my Father’s arrival. What excitement and eager anticipation on both sides. As the book’s title says, “Heaven is for real.” And for those who have put their faith in Jesus as their Savior, Heaven is where we will spend eternity. My Father is there.
My youngest daughter said she would love to be a fly on the wall (surely there are no flies in Heaven!) when her Daddy Bill met Jesus. I thought about that. I doubt it was really any different. My Father has been walking with Jesus for so many years… I imagine they hugged deeply as Jesus whispered, “Well done my good and faithful servant.” It was a brother greeting a brother, a Father welcoming His son… The familiarity had long ago been established.
And no doubt, it was a battle-scarred warrior returning from the front to lay his victory at the feet of his King amid great celebration. The warrior claims no honor for himself but gives it all to his King. Many have commented on my Father’s great humility. It was because he understood his mission – it was not to amass the world’s acclaim or admiration or fame. It was not go gain wealth – that was one of his fears. It was to do his Lord’s bidding. It was not to build a kingdom but The Kingdom.
So many have commented to me that my Father’s reward will be huge in Heaven. No doubt it will be. But perhaps not as we would reward – for the vast crowds that came to hear him preach or the thousands who responded to the invitation to receive Christ. God doesn’t see things as we do. God rewards faithfulness, not numbers. My father will be rewarded for his faithfulness just as the fireman who showed up day after day, or the nurse, or the teacher, or the janitor. No matter what our task, when we do it as unto the Lord faithfully, day after day, whether we feel like it or not, God sees and God will reward us.
The big change is that my Father will have no limitations. His body will be strong and young again. All the travelling and preaching took its toll – for years. He said he never felt the same after the 1957 New York Crusade in Madison Square Garden. The reunion with family members will be sweet since here on earth he was so often unavailable to them. I hope God gives my Mother and Father 1,000 years to be alone and enjoy each other. (There was never any privacy here on earth.)
People have speculated about my father’s wealth and imagined a fortune. Things did not interest my father. He was able to live comfortably but simply for a man of his stature. Though some would consider him a celebrity he considered himself a simple farm boy from North Carolina. His tastes were simple. He loved hotdogs and beans out of a can. He was easy to please. After my Mother died, we went to the house to begin the process of sorting things out. We went room to room. When we got to my Father’s room there was very little of value only sentiment; books, photos, childish drawings from great-grandchildren – not much of worldly value. My sister, Anne, looked around the room slowly and said, “A man of God values little the things of the world.” My Father was a man of God.
But now he has entered the Presence of the One he served. We rejoice that he fought a good fight; he finished his course; he kept the faith and there awaits for him a crown of righteousness.
We will miss him. Most of us have never known a world without him. In a world bereft of courageous, true, honorable men– he was one. I was blessed to call him, “Daddy.”
22 replies
  1. Jane Gilson
    Jane Gilson says:

    God Bless you Ruth, and my condolences to your entire family.
    The world was a better place with your father in it.
    He will be remembered forever as a great man of God.

    Reply
    • Ruth Graham
      Ruth Graham says:

      Thank you, Jane.

      As a family we rejoice that my father is face to face with Jesus and reunited with my mother. We are going to miss him like crazy but look forward to the day Jesus calls our names! We have everything to look forward to.

      God bless you.

      Warmly,
      Ruth Graham

      Reply
  2. Debbie Armstrong
    Debbie Armstrong says:

    This is a very moving tribute to your father, Reverend Billy Graham, one of the greatest Americans of our century. I send you and your family my deepest condolences.

    Reply
  3. Christy Fisher
    Christy Fisher says:

    He is certainly home! All praise and honor to the Lord. I can only imagine the moment your father came into the presence of Jesus. lord comfort you and your precious family.

    Reply
    • Ruth Graham
      Ruth Graham says:

      Dear Kristy,

      Yes. and Amen!

      Thank you for your prayers and concerns – God is faithful.

      Warmly,

      Ruth Graham

      Reply
  4. sarah
    sarah says:

    Beautiful true words, Ruth. Thank you for writing. Our thoughts are with you esp today as you do the service in Charlotte. May God give you everything you need today, for life and godliness, just as He promised. May you be filled with peace and comfort. Your father will be deeply missed.

    Reply
  5. bea zapata
    bea zapata says:

    Very dear Ruth: as my sister and I joined you in your father´s funeral service this morning, I cried (well, sobbed really) as I finally left all my tears run loose after accompanied you and your family all week. Tears of joy, as I heard the Gospel over and over again. Tears of honor towards the servant, the preacher, the leader, the man of integrity and love. Tears of identifying with you and your siblings for in a month and a half it will be a full year since my own daddy went to heave. Tears as I imagined the welcoming of Jesus, of your mother and then my parents and your parents rejoing and all those they took to Jesus rejoicing with them too. I hope you get to read my message. I send my love and prayers of comfort and of learning to live without him, as I have had to do. Let us be found faithful as they have. Much love, bea zapata, Guatemala

    Reply
    • Ruth Graham
      Ruth Graham says:

      So glad to hear from you! I was sorry to learn of your father’s death but like me, we rejoice because this is not “the end”. We ere both blessed to have precious, godly fathers. Now the torch is ours.
      Someone told me yesterday that they were sorry I lost my father. I smiled and said, “We didn’t loose him. We know exactly where he is!”
      And we will see him again – that’s the exciting part.
      Our father are probably up in heaven helping to prepare the Lord’s coming! We’ll hear the trumpet an dHe will call our name….one day soon!
      I trust you are well and your ministry is flourishing.
      God bless you, dear Bea.

      Reply
  6. Nancy Teune
    Nancy Teune says:

    Dear Ruth. Like so many, your father influenced my life. My parents actually participated with him doing “Songs in the Night” at the Village Church in Western Springs, Illinois -way long ago.
    People say your father made the world a better place. I believe that you are doing the same. I am grateful for your authenticity and humility in telling your story of God’s grace and the Spirit’s transformation in your life. We need that beautiful message, too. Thank you.
    While you are joyful for your father’s home going, I expect sorrow will accompany your joy at times. You and your family are in my prayers – and I pray that this time becomes a catalyst for another movement of our Lord in our society and the world!
    Blessings.

    Reply
  7. Cindy Fraer
    Cindy Fraer says:

    What a beautiful tribute Ruth and so well written. The tears and tribute you shared at your dads funeral today were so tender, heartfelt and perhaps the most moving. Your dad has been a tremendous example for us as to how to live a godly life in an ungodly world. I thought after the events of the past week, surely I was cried out but then today I think I cried for 4 hours straight as I watch the beautiful tributes each person gave at the funeral and the amazing ways your dad touched their lives and lived for Jesus.
    I will never forget the time you spent with us in our home and only hope that we get to meet again someday.
    Blessings my friend.

    Reply
  8. Nardeen Henderson
    Nardeen Henderson says:

    You touched the world with your beautiful message at your “daddy’s” funeral. The true essence of who he was. Not a dry eye. God bless you Ruth.

    Reply
    • Ruth Graham
      Ruth Graham says:

      Thank you, Nardeen.

      My prayer was not for emotion but for people to see – in a real way – what God is like. That experience of my father’s grace changed my life. I will always be grateful to him and to the God who used him as a channel of that most outrageous grace.

      Again, thank you.

      God bless you.

      Ruth Graham

      Reply
  9. Sarah Hodges
    Sarah Hodges says:

    Thank you for painting such a vivid description of your dad waiting for you with open arms in the midst of all your brokenness. I needed that picture.

    Reply
  10. Lois Pennington
    Lois Pennington says:

    My prayers for peace and joy and strength go up to the Father for you all. I want you to know you have said a few profound things in this tribute to your father that have spoken to me. You have touched a part of me that’s never been touched til now. Thank you for helping liberate me. Thank you for being real.

    Reply
  11. Sharon Buss
    Sharon Buss says:

    Thank you for your courage to continue your father’s legacy of humility and love that speaks so well of our humble, loving Savior, Jesus Christ. May you feel the comfort of the Holy Spirit and the embrace of the Lord’s everlasting arms.

    Reply
  12. Marsha
    Marsha says:

    Dear Ms. Graham, I am so sorry for your loss, I am so touched by your story. Your story offers so much hope to so many women. After a journey of some impossible relationships of my own, I discovered Jesus was enough. He had to be everything to me before I could truly heal. I related when you said, you knew that mentally but deep down you needed someone to care for you. After my journey of surviving abuse as a child and as an adult, I experienced what it meant to be fully & completely set free through total abandonment to Jesus. My passion is to encourage other women who feel broken, unworthy, needy or discouraged. My prayer is they will also experience the exhilarating freedom in Christ. My hope is they will throw off anything that would hold them back from fulfilling God’s purpose in their life to bring God glory and share the gospel of Jesus Christ. Your openness and your ministry is that vehicle where so many women can find the truth that will set them free, that will bring them joy that only Jesus can bring into their hearts & lives. Thank you for who you are and for your obedience to Christ in sharing your beautiful story of transformation. Blessings.

    Reply
    • Ruth Graham
      Ruth Graham says:

      Thank you, Marsha.

      You encourage me. I know several times I have told the Lord I was tired of telling my story but He clearly told me, “I gave you your story for My glory”. I am so very grateful and humbled the He’s using my mess.

      He is writing His story in you, too, for hIs own purpose.

      Thank you for your kind words of condolence. We rejoice that our father is in heaven with Jesus – at log last! And reunited with Mother. We can’t be sad about that.

      But we will miss him terribly. The world will miss him but God’s plans will be carried out – He is in control. I just Him to meet our every need.

      God bless you!

      Warmly,

      Ruth Graham

      Reply
      • Marsha
        Marsha says:

        Dear Ruth,
        Yes, indeed and Glory to God as He has been and is continuing to write my story for His purpose! I am just beginning to share. It is difficult for me to share my story as well, but praise God for redeeming our stories because now they are a beautiful, beautiful representation of what a compassionate, mighty God we serve. Increasingly, I continue to become aware of so many who are hurting in silence. I recently was asked to share at a Valentine Banquet for local Senior Citizen’s. God prompted me to simply tell my story and I was totally surprised by the overwhelming response. There was a line of men and women afterward waiting to share with me “their” similar story and how much they needed to hear what was shared. Still many with unresolved pain. The need to experience God’s mercy & grace is so great.

        Continued prayers as you take the next step of obedience in your ministry.

        Blessings,
        Marsha

        Reply
  13. Diane McCauley
    Diane McCauley says:

    My prayers have been with you and your family. I admire your strength while sharing during the funeral with the world about your daddy with the love and guidance he gave you throughout your life. You were blessed. It was a blessing to hear from you and your siblings during the funeral. I will continue to pray for you and your family in the days ahead.

    Reply
  14. JEANNE MERCEDES GRIER
    JEANNE MERCEDES GRIER says:

    Your father is probably still standing in the heavenly reception line, shaking hands and exchanging hugs with the millions of individuals touched by his life and ministry. He probably won’t get the opportunity to sit down soon. That line is very long!

    Reply

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