Countless people around the world are mourning the death of late evangelist Billy Graham.
This is especially true for the people who knew him best – his family. While she is still grieving her father’s death, Anne Graham Lotz says she hopes her father’s death is a “wake-up call” for the church.
“I believe my father’s death is heaven’s shot across the bow. It’s time for the church to wake up,” Lotz said in an interview with WRAL News. “It’s time for the world to wake up because you’re not promised tomorrow. You need to decide now where you’re going to spend eternity.”
Graham says the church has lost its focus on the simple gospel, and has neglected to teach people how to love God and His Word.
“That’s why this nation is in a mess. We’ve lost our focus. We’ve lost our message,” Lotz said. “People go to church, but they’re not getting what they’re going for.”
“We’re so divided. There’s so much anger, so much polarization, and Jesus is the answer,” she said. “If you look at my Daddy’s life, he cuts across all those divides, whether it’s a racial divide, a political divide, a social divide. People all across the spectrum love and honor Billy Graham. Why? Because of his message and because he presented Jesus, and Jesus is the one who unifies us and brings us together.”
Now that her father is gone, she believes it is up to believers everywhere to share the powerful message of the gospel.
“I’m praying that Daddy’s death will be something that would shake the church. You can’t leave it up to Billy Graham to share the gospel anymore. That’s our privilege. That’s our responsibility,” she said. “I’m praying this will be a wakeup call and they will wake up and will have what the old-timey people would call an awakening…Just a great revival of people who put their faith in Jesus and go out and share it with others.”
Even though her father’s death has left a void in her heart, Lotz knows she will see him again.
“I know Daddy’s in heaven. I have every confidence I’m going to see him again. But inside, I feel empty, and it’s not easy,” she said.
She is comforted by the last words she ever heard her father say.
“We’d gathered around, we’d sung to him, read scripture to him, and we were all saying goodbye to him. He’d gotten very quiet. But my youngest grand daughter, who is 11, she leaned over and just said, ‘Daddy Bill, I love you.’ And he said just as clearly, ‘I love you.'”
“That was the last thing we heard him say,” Lotz said. “There’s a great peace. There’s no angst. I’m not wrestling with anything.”