Franklin Graham on the Emptiness of Running From God

By   •   April 20, 2016

Franklin Graham in leather jacket and baseball cap

Franklin Graham has never been shy about his rebellious past. In fact, he often uses his story in sermons while sharing the Gospel around the world.

“I believed in God. I just didn’t want Jesus running my life. I wanted to run my own life. … But I was miserable,” Franklin Graham shared with a crowd in the Faroe Islands last year.

As a teen, Franklin was sent to an alternative school in New York. He was later kicked out. Smoking, drinking and defying authority soon became his norm.

Franklin Graham in 1972.

“I took pride in my individuality and tried to see how far I could stretch rules before getting reprimanded,” he wrote in his autobiography, Rebel with a Cause. “Instead of getting my esteem from achieving within the system, I got my thrills and identity from challenging the system.”

But living by his own standards proved to be unfulfilling.

“The more I tried to fill my life with things I thought would make me happy, the more empty I felt inside,” Franklin said while preaching the Gospel in Thailand in November 2013.

Despite his father Billy Graham’s dedication to a life of ministry, Franklin knew that wouldn’t get him into heaven. Eventually, he got tired of running from God and gave his life to Christ at age 22. In Rebel with a Cause, he wrote about the experience that changed his life:

I realized for the first time that sin had control over my life. Franklin Graham was not in charge, but sin was. And there was absolutely nothing I could do in my own power to overcome it.

… I felt I was a Christian. I was the son of Billy Graham, I went to church, and I memorized Scripture. What more did it take?

Suddenly, I had an overpowering conviction that I needed to get my life right with God … I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. My years of running and rebellion had ended. … It was finished. The rebel had found the cause.

Is your life right with God? It’s not too late to turn to Christ.

Ask for God’s forgiveness today.