(Photo: Courtesy of Billy Graham Evangelistic Association)
Billy Graham’s new book, Nearing Home, will be released this month, and it not only guides the elderly on how to age with grace but also carries lessons for younger folks.
Nearing Home: Life, Faith, and Finishing Well, Graham's 30th book, is scheduled to hit stands on Oct. 18, less than three weeks before the author, who has appeared many times on Gallup’s list of most admired people, turns 93.
“I can’t truthfully say that I have liked growing older,” Graham writes in his fearless book, but that’s just part of the “realities of life as we grow older.” More importantly, he invites the readers “to explore with me … also the hope and fulfillment – and even joy – that can be ours once we learn to look at these years from God’s point of view and discover His strength to sustain us every day.”
“I pray that you and I may learn what it means not only to grow older, but, with God’s help, to grow older with grace,” writes Graham, who has spent personal time with 12 U.S. presidents, including Barack Obama.
Once a “role model of masculinity and vibrancy,” Graham is now “a model for aging gracefully despite a disability,” Grant Wacker, professor of Christian history at Duke University, recently told USA Today. “Even with the Parkinson’s, you see him soldiering on, still preaching in his own way,” added Wacker, who has studied Graham’s impact on American culture since the preacher was young.
Graham says God has a specific reason for keeping each person alive, and all, irrespective of their age, should strive to find out what His purpose is for these years, and how they can align their lives with it. It is also important to learn not only to cope with the fears and struggles and growing limitations in life but also to actually grow stronger inwardly in the midst of difficulties.
“The best way to meet the challenges of old age is to prepare for them now, before they arrive,” Graham says.
Published by Thomas Nelson, Nearing Home looks into four key areas in 176 pages: building strong foundations and understanding the gift of years; facing life’s transitions, including the passing of years, retirement, and when loved ones die; making wise decisions; and understanding our glorious hope.
Until recently, Billy Graham’s son, Franklin Graham, didn’t think the book would reach completion. “To be honest, I didn’t think he was going to finish it,” he told USA Today. “There would be a month or two when he was too tired or the medication slowed him down.”
However, in the recent months, “he got a spurt of energy,” added Franklin Graham, who now heads the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. “He’s earned the right to give this advice and people will take advice from him where they may not take it from someone else.”
“Time catches up to all of us,” Publisher Matt Baugher says. “At his age, with all that has come before, he is in a unique position to guide all of us on what it means to finish well in this life. God bless Billy Graham.”
It is estimated that more than 3 million people have responded to the Billy Graham Crusades’ call to accept Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and Lord. And his ministry continues through books. Franklin Graham says his father may soon begin writing another manuscript.