Safe Place with Ruth Graham

These have been remarkable days as we have seen the outpouring love for my father which overflowed to me. Such a blessing to all of us. If you haven’t seen the coverage then I suggest you go to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and watch.

Quite incredible from the motorcade from The Cove to Charlotte – then on to the Capital in Washington where Daddy was honored by “Lying in Honor” in the Rotunda. An honor given to only 4 other people in our history and Daddy is the only clergyman to do so.

Then back to Charlotte to take him home. One final plane ride…it was emotional to see them unload his casket into the hearse for his final trip into Charlotte for the memorial service on Friday.

It was freezing in the tent! Daddy started in a tent in Los Angeles and Franklin thought it would be appropriate. Fortunately, my older sister brought an extra coat for which I was grateful.

Each of us had 3 minutes to speak. I asked the Lord to help me and He did. I felt the freedom from the Holy Spirit to talk of my father’s lasting legacy to me. It touched many hearts for which I am grateful. I want to pass on my father’s legacy of grace.

I stayed until he was buried – even though it was so cold – but I didn’t want him to be alone. I went back the next day to see it all finished and landscaped. At long last Mother and Daddy are side by side!

And they are enjoying all the splendor of Heaven talking with God face to face.

But how do I feel? To be honest I am sort of numb. While it wasn’t unexpected, it was a surprise. I haven’t begun to process all my emotions. I am in “survival mode” doing what needs to be done.

On top of everything else, a tree fell onto my daughter’s house so they have no heat and are staying with me. My refrigerator is on the “fritz”. Not good timing.

So there has not been a quiet time to think. Reflect. But God has been working wonderful ways and I praise Him that I have seen His hand in a multitude situations that could have been difficult. God just paved the way.

He keeps His promises of Isaiah 40:4-5.

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”.


I think I’ve told you the I no longer have TV. I can get Netflix but I can’t get regular programming. Oh, I suppose there is a way but I just don’t want that noise in my home. I guess I’ll miss the Olympics – which will sadden me – but it’s a small price to pay. I don’t like being “ramped” up by the television news or programming. For me, it does not honor God or create a godly atmosphere in my home.

However, less you think I am becoming an ignoramus, I do keep up with news on-line. It’s just a different way of getting the news.
And I can pick and choose what I want to consume. Not a bad thing.

The Grammys were held this weekend. I didn’t watch but I did read some reports. It sounded and, from the pictures, looked, like a zoo. The clothes, or lack thereof, their verbiage, their opinions are just not important. They think they are very relevant. But it is the blind leading the blind. They choose not to see truth. They are talented but do not acknowledge where their talent came from. They have voices but won’t acknowledge where their very breath comes from.

The reports about robots and the amazing things they do, I find interesting. It started some years ago (or maybe before) with the scanners at the grocery store check out. We are being programmed to accept non-human interaction. I read somewhere that you can now have sex with a robot – touted for “disease proof”. Robots do not breathe. They have no life in them – they are programmed. I don’t care how life-like they get, only God can create life. We are trying to play God. It will never work. He will have the last word.

The Bible says, “He who sits in the heavens laughs.” He laughs at our willful rebellion. And His heart breaks. He loves us so much s we turn our backs on Him and each other. His arms are open wide for us to come to Him and acknowledge Him as the one true God.

I had the privilege and joy of giving a short eulogy at Jeannette Clift George’s (she played Corrie ten Boom in the movie, The Hiding Place.) memorial service in Houston this past weekend. It was a glorious service. Dr. Ed Young was so tender in his remarks – I was unaware that his dear wife died recently – this was possibly the first memorial he has done since – must have been difficult. The music was heavenly! Orchestra, choir, soloists – the whole nine yards. And it is a lovely sanctuary – like churches should look!!

I told two quick stories about her and then talked of her relationship with my parents. She was a particularly dear friend to my mother. They were like old-fashioned girlfriends. They shared confidences, silliness, laughter and always something God was teaching them from the scriptures.

Because they were both in the limelight, there were few with whom they could share their burdens and know it would go into a black hole.They trusted each other. They both had a refreshing take on life nor take themselves too seriously.

One story I told was Jeannette became concerned that people were not talking to each other or listening to each other. So one day in a receiving line as she shook hands she said to each person, “The elephants are coming.” “The elephants are coming.” No one heard her or paid any attention!Her point was proven.

One Easter she decided to send Easter cards and sign each one. She thought she had written the scripture verse, Hebrews 13:8: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday today, yes and forever.” She was pleased to get all the cards out. Soon she saw a friend at the grocery store and the friend thanked her for the card but said she was surprised by the reference. Jeannette inquired and was horrified to learn she had written Hebrews 12:8, “then ye are bastards.”

Such was Jeannette’s life! Like I said she didn’t take herself so seriously that she couldn’t laugh at herself.

One the way home I arranged for a wheelchair to meet me at the gate in Charlotte – It is a long track and my balance is not so good right now. (Yes. I am seeing a doctor about it. Two “irritated nerves” in my lower spine.)

The man pushing my chair must have been a frustrated kamikaze pilot! He swerved, almost ran over people – I smiled and waved like a queen but was scared the man would dump me out!! Poor Krista (my traveling companion) kept up – she is a runner! But he was a mess.

When we got to the gate we got seats. In front of me was a nice, well-dressed Black woman. She looked so familiar. I smiled at her and said, “You look so familiar, do I know you?” She was sweet and said, “No, I don’t think so.” But I’d started a conversation and carried on…anyway, she said when she is in Charlotte at the airport she usually goes over to the Billy Graham Library.

Krista leaned in and said “Are you going to tell her who you are?” I gave Krista the evil eye and said “no”. (I fired her last time for doing that at Lakewood Church! I didn’t really fire her.)

I asked this woman what was her favorite part of the library and about her family…just making conversation. It was clear she was a believer. I told her we were coming from Jeannette Clift George’s memorial service. She wasn’t clear who Jeannette was but knew The Hiding Place.

I asked about her kids……chit chat. I asked where she was going – to “Daytona Beach for a MLK event then on to Atlanta”. I told her if she saw Alveda King to give her my love. She said “What is your name?” I told her. and she hugged me, leaned down and whispered, “I am Candy Carson. My husband is Ben Carson.”

We had met on several occasions and so I jumped up and gave her a hug. It was like meeting an old friend. We had met years ago at The Cove when Ben Carson spoke there then again when he and I both spoke for James Robison in Dallas.

It was cute how we both tried to keep our identities under wraps.. And I am quite sure a lot of people say to her, “You look familiar.” Her husband ran for President for crying to loud! We took a photo. I assured her we were praying like mad. I was surprised there was no Secret Service…I guess Cabinet members’
wives don’t qualify.

Anyway, it was a sweet blessing to have a happy reunion at the gate in Charlotte. You just never know what little “surprise blessings” God has in store for you each day!

Let’s look for them each day this year and thank God for them. We are so blessed in so many ways. Maybe keep a journal of them – I know if I didn’t journal, I’d forget so many things.