Evangelist Anne Graham Lotz has vowed to continue spreading her late father Billy Graham’s message about God through her fight against cancer.
Lotz posted a touching tribute to her father on Wednesday, which would have been his 100th birthday, admitting that she misses him now even more so than when he died in February.
“With a dull ache in my heart, I long to drive up to see him one more time. To tell him about the new journey of faith God has me traveling. To hear him say, ‘I love you, darling,'” she wrote on her website.
“Today, I’m remembering one who was always a farmer at heart. Who loved his dogs and his cat. Who followed the weather patterns almost as closely as he did world events. Who wore old blue jeans, comfortable sweaters, and a baseball cap,” the evangelist continued.
Graham, credited for evangelizing millions around the world, at the end had a “simple faith,” his daughter said.
“He was his message … a simple man who had responded to God’s love by placing his faith in Jesus, receiving the assurance that his sins were forgiven, that he would not perish, but would have everlasting life,” she said.
She wrote that she trusts that her father is now with Jesus, and is “celebrating his first birthday in Heaven.”
“While he may be physically absent and his voice silent, I am confident that his message will continue to reverberate throughout the generations to come. While I’m somewhat bound and set aside, I have not forgotten my recommitment to take up his message like a baton being passed in a relay race,” she vowed.
“I am committed to faithfully pass it on to those with whom I come in contact, whether through this blog, or those I pass at the hospital during chemo treatments or doctors’ visits. Because Daddy’s message is God’s message. And it’s a message of genuine hope for the future, of love for the present, of forgiveness for the past,” the author added.
“It’s a message, when received, that brings a fresh beginning, unshakable joy, unexplainable peace, eternal significance, meaning and purpose to life, and opens Heaven’s door. I know, because the message which Daddy carried to the world penetrated my own heart as a young girl and continues to make impact.”
The evangelist has been open with her supporters about her fight with breast cancer, which she was diagnosed with in August.
While she said that her initial surgery “went well,” she admitted there have been complications requiring 18 weeks of chemotherapy.
In October, Lotz said that she has “no fear of death” on her journey.
“My cancer journey continues as I begin chemotherapy this week. My heart aches for the multitude of people who have also dealt with this deadly disease. Yet I am praising God for His keeping power and for your prayers that I know are sustaining me in a constant state of peace, joy, and expectancy of blessings along the way,” she wrote at the time.
“I have been told that my prognosis is excellent. But to be honest, even if it wasn’t, I can truthfully say I have no fear of death. None at all,” she added.
The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina meanwhile passed a resolution honoring Graham on his 100th birthday, commemorating the life and ministry of the late evangelist, who “traveled the world sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ.”
The resolution added, “… we desire to celebrate Billy Graham’s legacy by committing ourselves to sharing the Gospel, living lives of personal holiness, and finding joy through an eternal peace with God accomplished by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.”