After two days of gray skies and rain, the sun brightened the grounds of the Billy Graham Library on Friday for the ministry’s first event of 2024. Guests waited eagerly to hear Ruth Graham share an encouraging message from God’s Word.
More than 140 people enjoyed coffee, desserts, and a candid conversation on a topic many people aren’t too eager to share—the pain of being alone.
“We all have experienced loneliness at some time in our lives,” Ruth Graham said, heads nodding in agreement. “And this book,” Graham said, referencing Transforming Loneliness—her 10th book—“was the most difficult to write.”
The third child and youngest daughter of Billy and Ruth Bell Graham, Ruth is no stranger to this subject. For the next 30 minutes, she candidly shared how she struggled through the pain during many difficult seasons in her life.
“Loneliness is a worldwide epidemic,” she said, noting that it affects more than half of all people. She told of the phenomenon of people dying alone in Japan, undiscovered for days. In 2018, Theresa May, then Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, established a Minister of Loneliness. And in the United States, it’s been raised as a deadly public health crisis.
“If you are lonely today, find at least one trusted friend, pastor, or counselor that you can reach out to,” Ruth said. “Know that God is there. … Just listen for His voice. He will meet you and will speak to your heart.”
Ruth shared how she was able to transform one desperately lonely Christmas into a time of Spirit-filled worship. Calling that day her “favorite holiday,” Ruth explained that her heart was moved as her focus changed from herself to the Lord. “God met me … in a special way.”
Ruth referenced several people in the Bible who struggled with being alone—and then God came to them in their time of deepest need: Adam and Eve, Hagar, David, and Daniel.
Thinking about her own life, she told the audience, “My mother was a lonely person.” Ruth shared that her father was often away for weeks at a time preaching. “But she chose to make Christ the center of her life. And you can too. … God will meet you.”
“I wanted to see what Ruth has to say on this difficult topic,” said one guest. “I see lonely people in the church—and I wonder, how can I reach out?” She and many others left equipped and inspired to minister to those who are silently struggling around them.
Sandy, who suffered through a divorce recently, came to the event filled with anticipation and left with a renewed sense of hope. “I’ve had a very difficult time,” she shared—and then smiled. “I was meant to be here today.”