Friday, December 30, 2011

Nearing Home - by Billy Graham

Renowned evangelist Billy Graham was approaching the age of 93 as he wrote Nearing Home. In his own words, he says that "growing old has been the greatest surprise of [his] life." He speaks of how he's been told how to die, but not of how to prepare for death. Mr. Graham writes of both practical and spiritual matters requiring preparation in the "here and now." For the matter of physical realities, he talks of retirement funds, and wills, and living wills. He discusses the reality of watching your friends and family pass on before you, and the necessity of physical assistance as your body continues to age. As to the spiritual matters, the book covers both the present need of continuing to develop your own spiritual health, as well as looking to the next generation's needs for teachers. And then, of course, there is the matter of "home," knowing where you'll go when you die, and being ready to be received thereunto.

My first thought upon reading this book was "I can't believe someone can still be writing books at 93 years old." Impressive as that is, the book itself was also a surprise. Mr. Graham's honesty and vulnerability in speaking of his own aging process was refreshing. His grief over the passing of his wife, Ruth, was sorrowful, and his own admission that he continues to miss her even though he knows that he will join her soon was heartfelt. The use of scriptures sprinkled liberally through the text were seamless, and were contextually appropriate, rather than feeling as if they were there to meet some sort of quota, like I've felt in other Christian life books.

The end of the book is, appropriately enough, a call to Christ. While this feels very real to Mr. Graham's ministry, and the lack of it probably would have made the book incomplete, I did find myself skimming this section instead of reading it thoroughly, feeling as if I "knew" this part. However, his final message of "that was then... this is now" applies to everyone. No matter where you are in your life, what you have done, or what you haven't done, whether you've prepared for death or never gave it a passing thought, it isn't too late. That was then...this is now, and now is the time to think about it all.

I give this book 4 stars.

I received this book for free as part of Thomas Nelson's BookSneeze book review bloggers' program. I was not required to write a positive review.

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