A Voice of Faith

Ezekiel 22:30

I searched for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, so that I would not destroy it; but I found no one.

First of all, I do not believe for one moment that God is out to destroy us. This virus is not His handiwork, nor His will. None the less, I believe His gaze is roaming the earth for those who will stand in the gap for the world, who will lift up a voice of faith and let truth be heard.

I wrote to you on March 24th about two outstanding observations. One was the complete lack of teaching on how people can support their immune system. The other glaring absence, to me, is the lack of leadership in this time of crisis. I can only speak to what I see in the United States and I hope other countries are faring better in this than we.

In this country, I think we are experiencing the loss of Billy Graham. For many years Reverend Graham was our unofficial National Pastor. He came to us in times of trouble and encouraged us. He spoke with strong conviction about the power of our God and the love that would rescue us. No matter what ever assailed this country, Billy Graham was there with a strong voice of faith.

There are voices out there, don’t get me wrong. Mine is one of them, but none of us has the national attention that could bring encouragement to a nation of citizens in need of the Good News. The media does not seem to be beating down the door of the faith people in search of encouragement. It may just be me. Perhaps you are seeing those interviews. Most of us, it seems to me, have to turn to the internet and YouTube. It is an individual search for peace and comfort rather than a nation that calls upon its faith leaders to speak into the most dire situations of life. I definitely miss the days of old when Men of faith spoke from a national pulpit, when a nation turned to people of faith and received the Good News. We seem more isolated by the lack of a national focus and voice than by the stay home order. You can spend all day reading information about covid-19 but ultimately it is just information and I believe, too much of it will suppress your faith and lead to depression. We have more news outlets than ever, but no galvanizing centralization of bold, faithful leadership. We are a gigantic ship without a rudder.

The world has changed dramatically. Do you know who the voice of faith is now? Actually, it is you. We are dependent upon you to spread what God shows us. This crisis is also a crisis of faith because we are challenged to do church differently than ever before. If you do not share the good news, then it will not spread.

The stay home order should work to our advantage. People could read their Bibles, pray and share the teachings of pastors with all their friends and family. We have time for our own meditative prayer when God can speak to your heart. We can burn up the airwaves with the power of prayer and with the Good News of God. We could even join together in prayer that a voice of faith will be heard throughout the land.

There are people out there hurting. We know that. Many of us are passionate about reaching those folks with the Good News. Our God loves and He saves. His love protects and keeps us.

Will you pray this with me? “Give us, Lord, someone who will stand in the gap for us all and who will lift you up with a voice of faith. And let it begin with me.”

Billy Graham

John 3: 16

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.

As a fellow North Carolinian, I am blessed today to honor the Reverend Billy Graham who passed over into glory yesterday. The word “reverend” has, at its base, “revere” which describes people’s feelings about Graham and his ministry. He shared God’s love to millions of people, the list of people in heaven because of his compassion and message is quite long. I, too, made a declaration for Christ at a Billy Graham function.

He was an evangelist amongst evangelists. He preached John 3: 16 in over 400 crusades in 185 countries. He literally took the good news of Jesus Christ to the world. He was a friend and confident to presidents and people of influence around the globe. He, more than any other minister, was considered the pastor of the United States. He was personal friends with Martin Luther King and long before it was popular, conducted integrated services, having personally removed the ropes that segregated blacks from whites at his meeting. He was, and is, a man of renown.

He is also a man of humility. He never forsook his rural North Carolina roots nor was he embarrassed by his humble beginnings. He also never seemed impressed by his popularity or fame. He was impressed by the life of Jesus, his savior and it was that story he told convincingly throughout his life and ministry.

When I decided to write about Reverend Graham the verse John 3: 16 leapt to my mind but what set Reverend Graham apart in my mind is John 3: 17, “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him.” He certainly was challenged in this stance, especially as his friend Richard Nixon admitted to misdealings in the Watergate scandal. However, he unleashed the power of John 3: 17 when speaking about Bill Clinton’s white house troubles, Graham revealed that we are not given the job to judge but rather to love.

What will be Graham’s legacy? Time will tell. However, the answer lies, at least in part, in the hearts of you and me. Can we answer the call to love without judgement? Will we live our lives to God? Can we preach John 3: 16 to people not because of what we believe they are doing wrong but because of what Jesus did right?

Each generation must be a flag bearer. The mantle has certainly passed but to whom? I believe in my heart that it has passed to you. From the one, to the many we carry forward the message of Jesus, the one who loves us enough to die for us, and of the Father, He who loves us enough to sacrifice His only begotten child, and of the Spirit who has vacated paradise to live with us. If it is true that the Reverend Billy Graham’s legacy is left to you, what would you have that legacy be?