Cliff Barrows’ ministry went beyond song leading from the Billy Graham Crusade platform. He also participated in TV specials, hosted the long-running Hour of Decision radio program and taught the Scriptures from time to time.
But perhaps one of the strongest—and least known—facets of his personal ministry was that of individual encouragement, often through letters.
These were thoughtful, detailed letters. He paid such close attention to the lives of others that he could easily recall specific things about the life of any given letter recipient and could speak to his or her individual situation.
More important, Barrows had a knack for filling these letters with the hope of Heaven, with the principles of Jesus woven through every word.
When he would send a letter of condolence to a bereaved friend, Barrows almost always cited 2 Corinthians 1:2-5, pointing the heartbroken to “the one who so wonderfully comforts us in our hardships and trials.”
Joni Eareckson Tada, who, in a poetic turn of events wrote a letter that was read at Barrows’ memorial service, was the recipient of the last letter he ever penned. It was dated Nov. 10, just five days before his passing.
Barrows ended this letter to Tada with some sentiments about his eternal home: “With strength for today, hope for tomorrow, and the blessed reality that we will soon be with Him.”
For Tada, knowing her special friend left his last piece of written encouragement to her “makes this letter all the more a treasure.”