Early morning talk shows broke the sad news. The legendary Southern Baptist minister and evangelist, Dr. Reverend Billy Graham, had passed away at the age of 99 at his North Carolina home.
In his obituary, it was estimated that Rev. Graham, who preferred to be referred to as “Billy,” had delivered the gospel to over 200 million people at more than 400 of his Crusades and rallies. He had carried the word of God to more than 185 countries and had written nearly three dozen books.
Of course, there would be members of the country music and NASCAR communities who would have been touched by the words of the reverend. And upon hearing the news of his passing, they took to social media to share their thoughts and offer up their sympathies over this heartbreaking loss.
Reba McEntire shared a compelling photo of the minister, his head bowed in prayer, and wrote, “Billy Graham. What an incredible life you had. Thanks for all your guidance and love. #angelssinginginheaven”
Carrie Underwood learned the news of Dr. Graham’s passing on Twitter and replied to contemporary Christian singer David Crowder’s post, which quoted the minister: “Someday you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it. I shall be more alive than I am now, I will just have changed my address. I will have gone into the presence of God.” Carrie replied, simply, “Amazing … Rest in the arms of the Lord. Surely right now He is saying ‘Well done, my son.’”
Carrie’s husband, Nashville Predator’s hockey star, Mike Fisher, also posted a photo on Instagram and remarked, “He preached with boldness and truth and [led] countless people to a relationship with Jesus. It’s incredible to see how God used him to change the world.”
Charlie Daniels, who often quotes scripture on his social media timeline, shared a triumphant post on Twitter. “Just got the word that Billy Graham has passed at the age of 99,” he wrote. “What joy there must be in Heaven this morning as this good and faithful servant enters into the joy of His Lord. You were one of a kind Sir, and this world will not be the same place without you.”
For the legendary Tanya Tucker, the loss was particularly difficult as Billy had been a source of comfort when her own father was ill. She shared a photo of a younger minister and remembered, “I recall a few years ago my Dad was very ill and I called his office and asked that he pray for him. He did! I wanted to thank him so I went in the studio and recorded ‘Old Rugged Cross’ and sent him a CD that was a small gift I gave to him. It was a much grander gift that he gave to me and millions of people around the world.”
Rodney Atkins also shared an image of Rev. Graham on his Instagram, but very honestly admitted to his own shortcomings. “Even when I’ve questioned my own faith, I’ve never questioned it when Billy Graham spoke,” he wrote. “Thank you for the message you not only spoke but lived. #Amen”
Big & Rich’s Big Kenny Alphin, who was brought up by a Baptist church deacon, thanked the late minister by quoting him. “‘It is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict, God’s job to judge and my job to love.’ -Reverend Billy Graham,” he wrote. “Today we say farewell to a great man, a humble servant and true believer in love without prejudice. Thanks for sharing and inspiring that love in all of us!”
And, sadly, Ricky Skaggs learned of Billy Graham’s passing while his was having his morning prayers. In a post on Instagram, he recalled how his daughter Molly gave her life to Christ during one of Billy’s iconic Crusades. “The first thing I did was to thank God for sending Billy Graham into this world,” he said. “My youngest daughter Molly gave her life to Jesus watching him on TV during one of his Crusades. It’s a story of millions of people just like Molly that came to Christ listening to Dr. Graham’s simple message of God’s love and forgiveness.”
As the day went on, many country stars and NASCAR drivers, including Josh Turner, RaeLynn and Brad Keselowski, shared their thoughts on this iconic figure who just delivered his final message on his 95th birthday.
Dr. Rev. Billy Graham is survived by five children who have all followed a calling into the ministry. His beloved wife, Ruth, passed away in 2007. They were married for 64 years.