What does renowned evangelist minister Billy Graham hope to encounter in heaven?
According to his daughter, Ruth Graham, he wants nothing more than to see all the faces from his life, and to greet the God he’s served so faithfully.
“I sense that there’s a crowd gathering at the gate, and mother’s leading the charge,” Ruth told Glenn Beck during an interview that aired Thursday on TheBlaze TV.
“I think it’s going to be two friends greeting each other, who have known each other for years,” she continued with a smile. “Because [my father] has walked with Jesus for years. And it will be very comfortable. It’ll be a warrior returning to his king laying down all the victories, all the crowns and so forth. Laying them at his feet.”
Ruth said all her father wants to hear is the words “well done,” and added that she knows “he will.”
Ruth also opened up about having such an internationally recognized man of faith as a father, and the lasting impact it has had on her life.
She spoke about how, after three divorces, her father could have easily said “I’m tired of dealing with you, you’re on your own,” but he loved her “unconditionally.”
“I divorced my first husband for years of infidelity, and I was the first one to get a divorce in my family, so that was not good,” she recalled. “His parents were friends of the family, so that made it very complicated, and I felt like a circle had been drawn, and I was on the outside of the circle.”
She remarked: “You see, Glenn, in our church, adultery’s forgivable. Divorce is not. At least back then.”
“That is not right,” Glenn responded. Ruth laughed and agreed.
She explained how she moved to a large city after the divorce, and soon fell in love with another man. Within weeks of their wedding, however, he was already threatening to lay violent hands on her.
She said as she fled and returned home, her “fears multiplied with every mile.” What would her parents say? More importantly, what kind of example was she setting for her children?
“My father was standing there, and when I got out of the car, he wrapped his arms around me and said, ‘Welcome home,'” Ruth recalled emotionally. “And there was never any condemnation … That grace changed my life, and it informs what I do today. I want other people to experience the grace of God like my dad gave to me.”
She got married a third time and, though “he decided he didn’t want to be married anymore” after ten years, Ruth said they are still “good friends” and he is still essentially a member of the family.
Ruth said “it has not been easy,” but God didn’t not let her remain angry long and her children have “come through to be wonderful people.”
When Beck asked Ruth what she believes is the best way to “speak the truth and not be divisive,” she said the key is “how you speak the truth.”
“Do we speak it in arrogance?” she asked. “Do we speak it in judgement? Do we speak it in gentleness and love? How did Jesus speak the truth?”
She added: “We have such division. We have such rancor, not only in our political world but in our Christian world, our religious world. And I know that that breaks Jesus’ heart … I’m not a warrior, I’m much more of a lover … I want to include people. And if in that inclusion I gather in some black sheep, well and good. But I’d rather err on the side of grace than I would on judgement. I just am not going to stand in judgement of other people.”
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