This morning when I walked from the bedroom into our family room, the first thing I saw was a notice on the television announcing Billy Graham, age 99, had died.
The announcement impacted me in a profound way. All morning I’ve been on the verge of tears.
I’m not sad Billy Graham died. There’s not one doubt in my heart this man, who walked consistently in humility and whose ministry influence was significant, has joined what Hebrews 12:1 called “a great cloud of witnesses.”
Billy Graham’s message to the masses was simple:
God so loved…
Because God so loved, He came to earth as Jesus to live as man and show humanity
the exact character of God’s love…
Jesus is the way and the truth because…
God so loved…
I guess I’m feeling raw emotionally because the simple, pure message: “God so loved…” seems to have become so complicated, so harsh, so polluted.
My sphere of influence is limited. I know only a few people read my Listening on the Journey… blog post. This morning, to the few who read these words, my heartfelt message is simple.
God still loves…
and with every inferior fiber of my being, I want to convey the message of God’s
If the pigment of your complexion is black, brown, white or any variation thereof, God
If you’re intelligent, physically strong, and attractive, God loves you!
If your mental or physical capacity is limited, if you feel unattractive, God loves you!
If you’re in the barren winter season of your life journey, God loves you!
If you’re in the reaping, gathering, preserving autumn season, God loves you!
If you’re in the exhilarating, often exhausting summer season, God loves you!
If you’re in the budding season of springtime, God loves you!
If you’re enjoying plenty, God loves you!
If you’re suffering in poverty, God loves you!
If you’re female, God loves you!
If you’re male, God loves you!
If you’re heterosexual, homosexual, or have questions or complications surrounding
sexuality, God loves you!
If you’ve been loved well by those created to love you well, God loves you!
If you’ve been—or currently are—abused or neglected by those created to love you well,
God loves you!
If your political bend is conservative, God loves you!
If your political bend is progressive or liberal, God loves you!
If you’re an atheist, God loves you!
If you’re a Christian Catholic, Evangelical, Fundamentalist,
Pentecostal or Mainline Protestant, God loves you!
If your religious belief is Non-Christian, God loves you!
Life is complicated. I understand that.
People’s lives are filled with layer upon layer of ‘issues.’
The world in which we live is riddled with sometimes incomprehensible violence and
You—like me—may have more questions than answers.
Perhaps these are the very reasons why the pure and simple message of God’s love has the potential to create profound change, to motivate to action individuals, groups, cultures.
The message of God’s love is not a “Yes, but…” message. The message of God’s love is one of “Yes, and…”
God loves, and that’s why God cares about issues causing humanity’s hurts.
God loves, and because of that love, wants all humanity to know Truth.
God loves, and for some reason I simply cannot understand, has entrusted humans—like
Billy Graham, like you, like me—to be emissaries of divine love.
God loves, and that’s why Jesus—Emmanuel, God with Us—came.
whomever you are,
wherever you are,
whatever questions you may be asking,
however great your pain,
I’m praying somehow, in some way or through someone, WE will capture a glimmer of God’s amazing and incomprehensible love for us, for those we love, for those whose lives intersect with ours, and for all humanity…