Ruth Graham's been through the fire, says it's time for honesty

The daughter of the Rev. Billy Graham shares what it's like to watch her famous father grow older -- as well as the heartache she has endured -- and challenges us all to be truthful, no matter who we are

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“I thought, ‘What are they going to say to me?’” she remembers. “As I rounded the last bend in my father’s driveway, Daddy was waiting for me. He wrapped his arms around me and said, ‘Welcome home.’”

What followed was a time of turmoil. At age 40, she was in personal, emotional and spiritual crisis. “I sort of went off the rails,” she admits,

“I decided I was tired of doing it God’s way. But that just made things worse.

Ruth Graham today

“I had thought I was doing everything perfectly. I was a good wife. I was a wonderful mother. I was active in the church and I was teaching Bible studies. So, why didn’t God take care of me?”

Her children suffered, too. One daughter developed an eating disorder. Her son entered a drug abuse rehabilitation program. Another daughter gave birth to two babies out of wedlock while still in her mid-teens.

How did Ruth deal with such a collapse of her world? She says she felt abandoned. “It was really a crisis of faith. How come the Lord didn’t intervene?” Why didn’t God protect her – keep her from having to go through the fire?

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The answer is simple, she knows now: “He had something to teach me about the difficulties of life: to show me that none of us are exempt, that we all have hardships. We all have things that happen to us that we don’t ask for, but we have to endure.

“And it’s OK. It’s all part of God’s plan. I didn’t like having to go through that – none of us do.”

“But it was very important for me to have that experience – and to grow from it. I’m still growing. The story is not over. But that’s OK, God gives me grace. And God is a covenant-keeping God. He is faithful even when I am not. Now I’m living life. I am just living in the grace of God.”

The Rev. Graham in a photo taken about five years ago

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Rob Kerby, Senior Editor
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