By Will Hall, Message Editor
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (LBM) — Asked to reflect about the passing of President George H.W. Bush, Franklin Graham did not hesitate to respond. “I know where my father is, he’s in the presence of God,” he told Fox News interviewers, Dec. 1. “And I believe that President George H.W. Bush today is with my father, in the presence of God.”
The 41st president died at age 94 on Nov. 30 in Houston, Texas.
His wife Barbara preceded him in death earlier this year. News reports stated that shortly before dying she comforted her son, Jeb, the former governor of Florida, by reassuring him, “I believe in Jesus and He is my Savior. I don’t want to leave your dad, but I know I will be in a beautiful place.”
Graham, president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, disclosed that Bush’s faith was “a very private thing for him,” but spoke confidently that the president had “faith in God.”
“He believed in His Son, Jesus Christ. He believed that Jesus was the Way, the Truth and the Life, and He was the only way to God. He believed that,” Graham said.
Graham also offered anecdotes to underscore his observations about the former U.S. president.
“[H]e and my father had many discussions about faith, about Heaven, about future events. He was very interested in things like the second coming of Christ,” he said, calling his father and Bush “friends” who “trusted each other.”
As an example, Graham described a time of deep spiritual reflection by his father and Bush that took place the night before Bush gave the orders to begin military operations to free Kuwait.
“I know that as he was entering the Gulf War, he was very concerned about sending young men and women into war,” Graham shared. “He knew what war was about. He had over 50-some combat missions in the Pacific. He was shot down. So he knew and understood war.”
That night the president asked Graham’s evangelist father “to join him and to lead our nation in prayer.”
“He was a man who believed in prayer, believed in the power of prayer,” Graham explained. “And he wanted my father to be with him that night.”
PUBLIC SERVICE LEGACY
Graham told Fox News he thinks the former president will be remembered as “a good man, a gentle man, a kind man, a compassionate man, a man who dedicated his life to public service.”
“I think he may be the last president we may see for some time who had those traits and he was able to get along with and work with people from the other side,” he added.
As proof, Graham cited Bush’s work in retirement with his former political rival Bill Clinton, also retired, to help the people of Haiti and Texas after devastating natural disasters.
“The two men came together although they disagreed on things. They put that behind them for the good of America, for the good of humanity around the world,” he explained.
“I wish we had more men like him. He was a great, great man,” Graham said. “He’ll be missed and I know his family is grieving at this time. My love and condolences to all of them.”