I have seen so many posts from people saying that they wish they could’ve seen the party in heaven over the arrival of Billy Graham. And this is a warm picture, I must admit. But can I share my opinion?
If there is a back door to heaven, I bet he is the first person that got to use it. You read me right, I bet they brought him in the back.
In between breaths, he found himself walking up a grassy slope. A man who looks like his name might be Peter waved at him and called him by name. “Billy. My friend it is good to see you and shake your hand.” They shake hands. “Let me show you the way.” Peter comes from behind his podium and starts up and to the left. The reverend wants to say something. He wants to ask why they’re going to the left when the huge and ornate golden gate is up the other path to the right; but as he did in life, he follows the Lord’s call even when it doesn’t make sense to the human eye.
Peter and Billy climb higher and higher up rough stone steps through thick underbrush. His mind is taken back to the trails in his beloved Asheville. Suddenly, Peter comes to a stop. In front of them is an old wooden door obviously hand forged and obviously done by…less than a Master Craftsman. Possibly someone just learning their carpenter skills from their dad. Peter smiles at Billy, “I’ve never gotten to use this door before!” He knocks and from inside the softest, most pleasant, yet most commanding voice bids them, “Come.”
I would not dare to pollute the next moments of purest perfection with mere mortal words. I would not even try to picture the reunion between Creator and created, Master and missionary, Father and follower.
But at some point the conversation turns to a simple meal in this quiet, nondescript little upper room. Bread and wine shared between lover and Beloved.
And in this intimate moment, the Savior knows the question before it need be asked. “I brought you in the back. Do you know why?” The reverend shakes his head no. “Everyone on earth is speaking of the huge party, the amazing welcoming in heaven, the lavish extravagance shared in your honor, and know this…you deserve it my good and faithful servant. But don’t you think that I know you better than anyone? I know you do. I know that you know…that I know you wouldn’t want that. You dedicated your entire life to the expansion of My kingdom. You preached My word, you served My people, you loved the unlovely. A man like that…a man like Me…wouldn’t want a party. He wouldn’t want the hero’s welcome. A man like that, a man like Me, would want a simple meal with the person he devoted his life to. A man like that, a man like Me, would want to use the Servant’s entrance.”
A hug is shared at this point between Savior and saved. A hug that caused the clouds to lift here, the sun rise to be painted more beautiful than ever, a hug that was felt by all of us.
“Now, let’s go join the multitudes my dear friend.”
And while I’m sure God knew the Reverend enough to know he would prefer a downplayed entrance…I’m not so sure Ruth could contain her excitement.
Rest in Jubilation Reverend William Franklin Graham, Jr.
You will be missed.
But let it be known how better off we are that you were here.
Suggested listening: “Angel at my Door” by NEEDTOBREATHE