REMEMBERING BILLY GRAHAM; Congressional Record Vol. 164, No. 36
(Senate - February 28, 2018)

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[Pages S1266-S1267]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

                        REMEMBERING BILLY GRAHAM

  Mr. LANKFORD. Mr. President, it was an exceptionally moving service 
in the Rotunda today. For a man to be able to lie in honor in the 
Rotunda, for the Nation to pause for a moment, and for the leadership 
of the House and Senate, on both sides of the aisle, and the President 
of the United States to all stop and for a moment look at a wooden 
casket, simple as it was, and remember the legacy of a man who gave his 
life telling people that Jesus loves you, it is a remarkable day. It is 
not a common day in the U.S. Senate, in the House, to break in the 
middle of the day to be able to go to the Rotunda and just contemplate 
this simple fact: There is a God whom you can know who loves you.
  It is interesting to think back on some of the legacy of Dr. Graham. 
He had been to Oklahoma many times. In 2003, I had the opportunity to 
be the chair for the Youth Night of that mission. It was a moving 
night, and there were a lot of people there, as there were at all of 
his events. That night, there were thousands and thousands of teenagers 
there, and Dr. Graham unpacked a message about Solomon, a person who 
had everything. He challenged them--for this person who had 
everything--but he always came back to say all of these things were 
vanity, and, really, at the end, it is knowing God that is going to 
  He even challenged people of power. In that message that night in 
Oklahoma City, he said:

       People like power and prestige. Solomon had more power than 
     any man in his generation. No nation dared to defy him. But 
     he looked upon all his mighty military power and said that 
     even power brings no sense of fulfillment, or joy, or peace.
       The Bible talks about another power--the kind of power that 
     helps when the crisis comes. 2Timothy 1:7: ``God did not give 
     us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and 
     of self-discipline.''

  And then he said this:

       Jesus Christ said, ``All authority in Heaven and on Earth 
     has been given to me.''

  Then he quoted Paul's words: ``For I am not ashamed of the Gospel, 
for it is the power of God to salvation.''
  That night, many students responded to that simple invitation to be 
able to know a God who doesn't give you power, but He is power.
  If you asked most Oklahomans, though, what was the moment they 
remember most about Dr. Graham coming to Oklahoma, they would say it 
was in 1995 after the Federal Building was destroyed by a domestic 
terrorism event. Dr. Graham was there the Sunday after that tragic 
attack on Oklahoma and on the Nation. He gave a message to Oklahoma 
City, to Oklahomans, and to the Nation, and he laid out a sense of 
hope. Toward the end of his sermon he said this:

       This event also reminds us of the brevity and uncertainty 
     of life. It reminds us that we never know when we're going to 
     be taken. I doubt that even one of those who went to that 
     building to work, or to go to the children's place, ever 
     dreamed that it was their last day on earth. That is why we 
     each need to face our own spiritual need and commit ourselves 
     to God.
       It's ironic that this terrible event took place just three 
     days after the churches of this city were filled with people 
     celebrating Easter. Just one week ago today. And throughout 
     the world, the Eastern Orthodox churches celebrate Easter on 
     this day. And Easter always brings hope to all of us. For the 
     Christian, the Cross tells us that God understands our 
     suffering, for He took upon Himself at the Cross all our sins 
     and all of our failures and all of our sufferings. And our 
     Lord on that Cross asked the question: ``Why? My God, my God, 
     why hast thou forsaken me?'' And he received his answer. He 
     knew: To redeem the world. To save you and me from our sins. 
     To give us assurance that if we died we're going to heaven. 
     He was saying from the Cross, ``I love you!'' And I know the 
     heartaches and sorrows and the pain that you feel.
       Easter points us beyond the tragedy of the Cross to the 
     hope of the empty tomb. It tells us that there is hope for 
     eternal life, that Christ has conquered death. And it also 
     tells us that God has triumphed over evil and death and hell. 
     This is our hope, and it can be your hope as well.

  Dr. Graham ended his conversation by saying: ``My prayer for you 
today is that you will feel the loving arms of God wrapped around you 
and will know in your heart that He will never forsake you, as you 
trust Him.''

[[Page S1267]]

  This was a significant day for Oklahomans to begin the healing 
process together.
  It is quite remarkable to have America's pastor be laid to rest. Dr. 
Graham would assure all of us that the same hope he experienced, that 
he shared with as many people as he possibly could, was not unique to 
North Carolina. It wasn't unique to his family. It wasn't even unique 
to America. It was God's great affection for all people. The offer of 
that love that could turn around a heart like his, could turn around 
the heart of a nation, and it could turn around the heart of all 
  It is a good day to remember. It is a rare moment for us to be able 
to stop and pause in the way we have today. I think it is a significant 
message that should not be forgotten.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Oregon.